Smith has top five in sights at Portimão

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Kyle Smith just missed out on a second row grid spot in Superpole 2 today to finish top Honda in seventh position.  Smith heads up the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s 18-lap World Supersport race at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve and has a top five finish in his sights.

Smith said: “Not bad qualifying.  I was hoping for a little bit more for myself but we have worked a lot on the bike this weekend. There have been moments where the bike turned a little better and we know what we need to do to have this feel in the race.  I feel confident with my race pace and my aim is for a top five finish in the race.”

In Superpole 1 fellow CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Peter Sebestyen was unable to improve his best time set in Free Practice and qualified in 17thposition.  The Hungarian rider will start the race tomorrow from the sixth row of the grid and is looking to challenge well inside the points at the Portuguese circuit.

Sebestyen said: “The qualifying result is not what I wanted as this morning I was faster and I felt that the bike and myself could match the time or maybe a little bit better. So I pushed really hard but a bit too hard I think.  I did not follow the plan to get behind the fastest riders which was another point I missed out on to help me improve as I continue to learn the bike and feel where the limit is.  On the second run I was on my own on track so it was hard for me to push where I can on the bike with no more experienced riders to learn from in front of me.  The key point in the race tomorrow is to be stronger than I was in my first race in Misanoand as long as I can do that I feel we can have a good points scoring result tomorrow.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “We wanted to be on the first two rows with Kyle and I believe we had the bike and rider to be there.  We have made such big steps working with MecTronik and as a team we can be proud of this.  Kyle always has good race pace and here this looks good.  The forecast is hot again tomorrow and I expect Kyle to be strong in the second part of the race.  He feels he can be top five and this has to be our target.  The chance is there for us so we need to take it.”

“Peter I think pushed too hard in qualifying and missed his chance to improve his time.  That said he is still learning where the limit of the bike is and he starts in a better position than he did in Misano.  He has had more time on the bike now and he knows he needs to be stronger in the earlier laps to fight with the points scoring group.  I think he is on course to achieve our objective of a points scoring position in the race.”

Results Superpole 1

1 R. De Rosa 1’45.938

2 H. Okubo +0.334

3 H. Barbera +0.650

4 B. Quero Martinez +0.791

5 T. Gradinger +1.247

6 J. Van Sikkelerus +1.459

7 P. Sebestyen CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +1.470

8 W. Tessels +1.497

9 R. Hartog +1.774

10 S. Hornsey +1.947

 

Free Practices & Superpole Combined Results

1 L. Mahias 1’44.588

2 F. Caricasulo 1’44.813

3 S. Cortese 1’44.899

4 J.Cluzel 1’45.094

5 R. De Rosa 1’45.295

6 R. Krummenacher 1’45.578

7 K. Smith CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 1’45.884

8 A. Badovini 1’46.068

9 H. Okubo 1’46.311

10 H. Soomer 1’46.418

17 P. Sebestyen CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 1’47.408

 

The lights go out for round nine of the 2018 World Supersport Championship from Portimão tomorrow at 13:45 (local time)