Check out what the rider’s had to say and watch the video highlights from both races after the second round of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao where veteran rider Max Biaggi took his first double victory since he switched to Superbikes in 2007 and the double win is also a first for Aprilia after nine years, when Troy Corser won both races at Valencia in 2001.
Max Biaggi (Race 1- 1st, Race 2 – 1st):Yesterday I had already said that the bike was working a lot better compared to the Phillip Island race, and and considering last year’s results as well, I was aware of the fact that we would be able to have a good race.
In the past few days, we worked very well and I was certain that I would finish in the top three.
I must thank my team and all of the Aprilia technicians who work here and at Noale.
I’d like to dedicate this victory to my daughter Ines Angelica and to Eleonora.
It’s a pleasure to be back on top after the problems we had in Australia, we’ve improved with respect to last year.
The pace was a bit slower in Race 2 and we were all quite close.
It was really a great battle with a lot of passes and a few mistakes.
I’m really very happy for this dual victory because it is truly a great outcome, both for me and my team, as well as Aprilia, which is really doing a great job.
”Leon Haslam ( Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 2nd):If anybody had told me before the start of the season that I would’ve won one race and taken three podiums in the first four races, I would not have believed them.
It’s a great feeling to win a race, take three runner-up spots and be leading the championship and my aim is to try and maintain this kind of consistency as long as I can.
Today’s races were very hard and I had a lot of fun battling with Max.
His bike is fast and there were a couple of places where he could get on the gas quicker than me, but my bike was good on the brakes.
I did pass him quite a few times, but making it stick was a different matter.
The grip level was down in race two, but it was the same for everybody, and the lap times were generally down on race one.
The first time I jumped on the Suzuki Alstare bike I thought it was a good package and all the good work the team has done has proved how good it is.
Of course, there are always some areas to improve and we’ll be going to the next round in Valencia hoping to put one over Max and all the other riders.
I’ve had one victory and now I want more! Jonathan Rea (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 –DNF):I had a big crash on Friday and had to rebuild my confidence through the rest of the weekend and then some idiot let the brakes off going into turn one in the first race.
I locked the front brake and went straight into the gravel which was scary.
I really needed to get away with Max and Leon, but I caught up to Crutchlow and he was making quite a few mistakes when I put some pressure on him.
I got third place but I don’t think it was gifted and I think would have got it anyway.
In race two I was holding my own with Biaggi but messed up the last corner on lap five, I think, so Leon and Crutchlow got by.
I was still feeling pretty comfortable, but then heard a funny noise going down the straight a couple of laps later, so I pulled in the clutch and that was it.
It’s pretty frustrating watching the end of a race from the garage, and we need to make some in-roads to get back to the front soon.
We’re testing some new electronics here tomorrow and then it’s off to Valencia, where we had a good test last December.
Let’s hope for better things there.
Cal Crutchlow (Race 1 – 14th, Race 2 – 3rd):“It was a tough day today from the first race, I made a stupid mistake, my own fault I was pushing too hard.
We’ve made big steps from Australia, all credit to Yamaha they’ve done a fantastic job.
We came here fighting but unfortunately in the first race I went down and Johnny Rea got through and got the podium.
I’m looking forward to the next weekend in Valencia, if we can continue doing a good job and getting the success we’re starting to experience it’ll be a good season, let’s keep the ball rolling.
The team have put in a sterling effort this weekend.
Well done to Max Biaggi and Leon Camier as well.
”Carlos Checa (Race 1 – 4th, Race 2 – 4th):“I am happy with the great job we’ve done this weekend and the two fourth place finishes.
Of course getting onto the podium would have been better but I don’t think that we could have done better than we did today.
In race 1 I didn’t make a good start and I wasn’t part of the leading pack.
Race 2 went better, even though my start again was not great, but at least I was able to stay with the fastest guys.
Unfortunately what I gained through the corners, I was then losing on the straight and so it would have been useless to take risks.
Now we go to Valencia, a track where we tested a few months ago and where I’d like to do extremely well in front of my home crowd of course.
”Leon Camier (Race 1 – 5th, Race 2 – 5th):“I am very happy, we did well in both races and set excellent paces.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find my rhythm during the initial laps and this penalized me quite a bit.
Now I also need to make improvements in this area.
The familiarity with my RSV4 is improving with this new suspension and we’ve got a lot of work to do to keep moving forward.
”Shane Byrne (Race 1 – 6th, Race 2 – 7th):“In race 1 the setting of my 1198 was not quite right and I was not able to push to the max, also because I’m still not 100% fit.
Before race two my technicians worked hard on my Ducati and it was a lot better for that race.
I am satisfied with the results even though I know that me and my bike have the potential to do better and to push for race wins.
Now we move on to Valencia.
We tested there over the winter and I am sure that we will be able to further improve and fight for the positions that count.
” James Toseland (Race 1 – 7th, Race 2 – 6th):“We’ve still got a lot of work to do but we’ve made massive improvements.
We really deserved the third and sixth in that last race, After Cal’s Superpole he was unlucky to crash in the first race so I’m really pleased with his result in the second.
The potential of the bike is very good, once we use the full power of the engine we’re right up there.
It was only my crash that stopped me being on the front row I think.
I was a bit sore today and my head was bit fuzzy after its knock yesterday so I wasn’t completely on form.
Considering that and starting from 15th on the grid we achieved some good results.
It’s a shame we started on the back foot this year but we’re moving on and we’re keeping on pushing.
”Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 – 8th , Race 2 – 8th):“We’ve worked hard all weekend and today finally I had slightly better feeling with the bike but it was very difficult to score great results from the fifth row.
In race 1 I made a good start, which I knew was essential if I wanted to make some good points.
I tried to push as hard as possible but by the last five laps or so I was lacking rear grip and this meant that my traction was very much affected.
The second race was quite similar, the tyre performed better but I had a hard time getting past Guintoli, and again finished eighth.
I apologise to the team, the fans and the sponsors for my poor results but at least I was able to make up a few positions and take some points.
Now we look to start challenging for the podium every weekend from Valencia onwards.
The important thing is not to crash, and to take as many points as possible each race.
Biaggi and Haslam have demonstrated their strength both here and at Phillip Island and we hope we can be back up there on the podium at Valencia.
” Troy Corser (Race 1 – 9th, Race 2 – 10th):“Race 1 really was a struggle.
The bike was changing quite a lot and we lost grip quite early on.
It seems the bike is very sensitive to grip – whether it is from the asphalt or from the tyres.
For race 2 my crew changed the bike a bit.
The guys worked on the suspension settings in order to give me more grip.
It was a little bit better for a little longer.
While I started to fight the bike in the first race after six laps, I was able to go over half the race distance in race 2 without major difficulties.
Still, this is not where we want to be.
I am happy we have time to test tomorrow without any pressure.
”Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 – 11th , Race 2 -11th): “Let’s say that this weekend we were not able to refine the set up of my 1198 as we had hoped to.
I continued to have the same problem, the same lack of feeling at the front, in both races.
We made many modifications over the weekend but it didn’t make much difference; I just never felt right on the bike.
At the start of race 2 I managed to make up a few places straight away by pushing as hard as I could but after a few laps it became more and more difficult to turn; I went off track a couple of times in race 1 and then I went straight two or three times in the next race.
We of course hope for much better results at Valencia, where I need to start from the front rows.
” Ruben Xaus (Race 1 – 10th, Race 2 – 12th):“Today has not been too bad.
We had good starts in both races, and I was in touch with the top guys.
However, after a few laps I began to struggle with the bike and my laps were not as good as in the beginning.
This weekend has definitely helped me regain some of my rhythm.
My confidence has been building all weekend, and I have had great support from everyone at BMW Motorrad Motorsport.
Tomorrow we have some work to do in the test, but I am relatively happy with our progress this weekend.
”Sylvain Guintoli (Race 1 – 13th, Race 2 – 9th):To be honest, I feel like I messed up the weekend a bit.
Race one was a complete disaster and it all started when I braked too late for turn one on lap two and had to go straight on.
That cost me a lot of positions and time and I was in 22nd place at the end of that lap and had a lot of catching up to do.
After that, I never really found my rhythm and perhaps 13th was not too bad considering.
The second race was better, but in this championship you cannot afford to be average.
You have to be on your game at all times.
I don’t know why, but I feel that I didn’t start the weekend quite right and then it was always going to be difficult.
The bike is really good, so it’s me who has to raise the bar and perform.
I intend to attack Valencia right from the start of the weekend and be in a good position come raceday.
Max Neukirchner (Race 1 – DNF, Race 2- 15th):We have struggled to get the right balance for the bike all weekend and, even though we’ve had some good ideas, we haven’t really found one that works.
We’ll keep working though and, luckily, we have a test here tomorrow, which I hope will give us some opportunities to find a way forward.
The biggest problem I have is getting the bike to turn and hold a line going into the corners.
It means I’m having to brake earlier for each turn and by the end of the race… well, it’s not very good.
But we’ll look at things again tonight and hopefully make some progress before we go to Valencia in two weeks time.
Luca Scassa (Race 1 – 20th, Race 2 – 16th ):“After the beautiful day yesterday I was expecting something more, but in truth we must still be satisfied with the work done.
In race 1 I missed the start.
At the start of Race 2 we had an electrical problem at the moment we started the engine, so we used bike 2.
I regret having no points,I thank the whole team because they worked the best.
”Jakub Smrz (Race 1 – DNF , Race 2 – DNF):“In race 1, I didn’t enter the first corner as I wanted to and lost a few positions.
I fought back but the fuel pump got damaged and I finished the race.
I wanted to redeem myself in race 2 and so we did some changes to get more grip.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the expected result and while I was pushing to overtake Fabrizio’s factory Ducati, I crashed”.
Tom Sykes (Race 1 – 15th, Race 2 – 13th): “I qualified more or less where I expected to and was happy to start on the third row once again.
We didn’t have the perfect set-up but we’d made steady progress all weekend so it was unfortunate to have not made the step-up in the races.
I struggled with my starts and found it difficult to get past the traffic in front of me.
I’m a bit frustrated to be honest as I was trying hard to overtake but just couldn’t get the grip coming into the corners, and on the brakes, to make the move.
We still have work to do but I’m confident in the team and the package of the Ninja ZX-10R and with a bit more time we can hopefully start to close the gap.
”Vittorio Iannuzzo (Race 1 – 16th , Race 2 – DNF):“The first race was not so bad, particularly after some problems in practice and losing some track time, but it would have been good to finish in the points and not just miss out by one place.
We used more engine braking in race two but we had no time to test and it was a bit too much.
We tried it because we want to improve but I had to retire.
”Sheridan Morais (Race 1 -17th , Race 2 – DNF):“In the first race I thought I knew this track but I didn’t, because I spent the early laps just riding with the other guys, learning the way round.
We started doing some good times at the end and I was happy with that.
In race two we made some changes to set-up and it was looking not bad until the bike just stopped.
We have made some big progress which stands us in better stead for Valencia.
”Andrew Pitt (Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 -20th): “Well, not the best of days, but sometimes racing is like that and you just have to put it to one side and get on with.
I was actually pretty appy in race one – up to the crash – and felt I was lapping pretty consistently and at a good pace.
I had a good battle with Sykes and Lanzi, but Sykes was holding me up and I could see the group head pulling away, so I thought I’d better pass him.
I went to outbrake him, but hit some bumps and lost it instead.
We had to use the second bike in race two and there was a problem with the speed sensor or something touching it and the bike kept cutting out on the inspection lap.
So we had to pit and the mechanics changed a wheel and that meant I had to start the race from the pit-lane and half a lap down.
It was a very lonely race and I did wonder what I was doing out there, but by staying out I was able to give the team information on how the bike had been.
I feel we’re getting to the limit of what this bike can do in its current condition, so we need to push ahead with some new stuff as soon as possible and carry on the progress again.
We’ll have some stuff to try in Valencia and I’m hoping that we don’t have any technical problems and I can battle for points again.
”Makoto Tamada (Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 -19th): “We needed to try and get good settings and keep making progress, but I believe that this bike has potential and we will improve quite a lot.
The bike had an electronic problem in race one and I had no choice but to pull in.
It was a shame,because my start was not so bad.
My start in race two was not so bad, but there was a lot of pushing and shoving into the first couple of turns.
I had some problems with the traction control and also the setting of the engine braking was not quite right, so it was difficult to go any faster.
But, like Andrew, I stayed out on the track so that I could give as much information as possible to the team.