BMW team manager Davide Tardozzi insists Ruben Xaus will return to World Superbike competition at Portimao after being forced to sit out the season opener in Australia.

Xaus opted not to race at Phillip Island after four accidents, including a high-speed collision with Noriyuki Haga, left him lacking in confidence with the BMW S1000RR.

Raising speculation that Xaus' failure to race has put his position at BMW in doubt, team manager Tardozzi moved to quash any rumours of an immediate change by stating that the Spaniard will race in Portugal.

"The main issue at this moment is to have Ruben on form in Portimao," he said. "We are working on that, it is my priority so far.

Indeed, Tardozzi maintains he wants Xaus to regain his confidence on the bike and, after meeting with him recently, is satisfied he is on the way to doing so.

"Ruben is not so bad so far. I am in Spain now and I spoke to him here. I think Ruben still thinks he can be fast and do well, and I have seen he is very well in these two days, so I think he will be ready for Portimao."

Despite being reduced to one rider, BMW enjoyed a solid start to the season in Australia, Troy Corser finishing both races inside the top ten. It is progress Tardozzi is keen to maintain in Portugal when a host of new updates will be introduced.

"On the technical side we will have another step on the bike," he added. "We are making progress step by step, not looking for a huge step. You can't pass from seventh to first immediately; you first have to be consistently close to the top guys. Houses are built stone-by-stone."


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