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Preview - Portimao

Crash.net looks ahead to the second round of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao, Portugal.
As far as whetting the appetite goes, the 2010 World Superbike season opener in Australia couldn't have left fans feeling hungrier for more action.

The closest finish in WSBK history, a first-time winner in Leon Haslam and a daring last lap triumph for Carlos Checa, these were just the top headlines from a weekend brimming with notable performances – good and bad…

So while the riders and teams are no doubt refreshed and ready for second round of the season in Portugal, fans have been left famished by the lengthy month's gap between races.

Kicking off a lengthy European stint, Portimao may only be holding its third WSBK event, but it certainly feels as though it has been a series mainstay for far longer. That may be explained by the fact it only hosted a round of the series four months ago, while the swooping Algarve circuit has become the default venue for testing.

It means the playing field couldn't be much more level for the teams and riders, and given the closeness of the action in Australia, this can only mean better racing.

The big winner from the opening round was Haslam. Proving his pace in testing wasn't a false dawn – unlike former BSB rival Shane Byrne last year -, Haslam gelled with the Suzuki Alstare immediately for a first pole position and a first win at Phillip Island. It would have been a double had he realised there was a charging Ducati slipping up the inside of him on the final lap of race two.

Immediately elevating him to the status of a title favourite, having been considered an outsider initially, Haslam himself admits Portimao is likely to be a better indicator as to where he and his rivals will feature this season. On the plus side, the Briton was quick there in testing and is now the man with a target painted on his back.

Equally impressive in Australia was Carlos Checa, who turned his flagging reputation around in one swoop with a superbly timed fight-back, a result made all the more significant in that it was done with the satellite Althea Ducati team.

Given rider and team have been a mainstay at the top of the timesheets during testing, this shouldn't have been a surprise, but the fact Checa caught and passed the factory Ducati team will have spoke volumes to the Xerox concern.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Haslam, Race Start, Australian WSBK Race 1 2010
Haslam, Race Start, Australian WSBK Race 2 2010
Race Start, Australian WSBK Race 1 2010
Guintoli, Haga, Race Start, Australian WSBK Race 1 2010
Haslam, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam and De Puniet, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Andrea Petricca, Red Devils Aprilia team boss, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Pieter Breddels, Pata Honda technical director, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam and Guintoli, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam and Guintoli, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam and Guintoli and De Puniet, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Haslam and Guintoli, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014

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phil - Unregistered

March 25, 2010 3:46 PM

ducati 1-2-3 in both races. then haga starts stamping his name onto the championship at valencia What, like he did last year? and the year before that and the year before that......



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