Parkalgar Honda's will field an expanded three-rider for the much-anticipated final round of the 2008 World Supersport Championship, which will be held at the brand new Parkalgar Algarve Motor Park near Portimao in Portugal next weekend.
With the team being backed by the new circuit, expectations are high - especially after a successful three-day test.
Double AMA Formula Extreme champion Josh Hayes set his best time of the test (yesterday) Friday, posting a 1min 48.7secs at the twisty and undulating circuit. Regular team-mate Miguel Praia, who is eagerly anticipating his home round, was not far behind with a best lap of 1min 49.0sec at the 2.5-mile track.
However, for the final round only, Parkalgar Honda will also run a wild-card entry for Italian multiple 125cc GP winner Simone Sanna. Despite not riding a bike for nearly six-months, Sanna managed a time of 1min 48.9sec at the test to impress his team.
"The first thing I have to say is that the new Parkalgar Algarve Motor Park is simply stunning and one of the best circuits I have ever visited," said team manager Simon Buckmaster. "This circuit is setting new standards for competitors and spectators alike, I think next weekend's WSB round will really put it on the map when people realise just how good it is. It's certainly going to be worth visiting and anyone wanting a late break in the sun should consider booking a cheap flight to get here, it's going to be a mega race weekend.
"The track is very challenging with a lot of blind crests and challenging corners, it is a real rider's circuit. You can see a lot of it from the stands which has helped us spotting the riders and we have made fast progress.
"Josh has shown immense ability learning the circuit and going so quick. As it is a new circuit, it is a real leveller and he will start the race weekend in confident mood and for the first time without any disadvantage to the regular riders. We think a podium or a win is possible given his performance in the test.
"Simone is a friend of the team and the Parkalgar circuit and it has been a pleasure to welcome him into the fold for this round. He has shown a remarkable turn of speed for someone who hasn't ridden a bike in over five months. If he keeps it up he'll be jostling with Josh at the sharp end in the race.
"Miguel has been building up to his home round for the whole season. He has a lot of Portuguese fans as he lives near the track and has really upped his game in recent rounds. If he continues that progression and with the strong test behind him, then he should be challenging the top six and you know for sure he will give it his all.
"It's brilliant being here and it is a historic moment that the circuit that sponsors this team is actually real and absolutely stunning to visit. Come along next weekend, you'll not regret it and we'll be doing our best to bring some silverware home for the trophy cabinet at the same time, that would be just perfect," Buckmaster concluded.
Parkalgar Honda is yet to announce its 2009 line-up.