Superpole 2 for Smith & step forward for Sebestyen at Portimão

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Kyle Smith ended the opening day of round nine of the World Supersport Championship at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve seventh on the combined timesheets and takes his automatic place in Superpole 2 tomorrow.

Despite a small crash at turn 4 late in the morning’s Free Practice One Smith lost little of the eight minutes remaining getting back out to post a faster time of 1’46.170.  With the track temperature steadily increasing to 39℃ for the afternoon session Smith went faster still posting a time of 1’45.825 and will challenge for the tops spots on the grid in qualifying tomorrow.

Smith said: “I’m feeling positive about today.  I felt a little more comfortable on the bike this morning but track temperature was much higher this afternoon so we must consider this.  We made a lot of changes this afternoon as the track changed.  We need to find a little more for the one fast lap needed for the first two rows but our race pace looks ok.  Overall I’m quite happy and feeling positive for qualifying and the race.”

Teammate Peter Sebestyen took another step in the right direction ending the first day of World Supersport action in Portugal in fifteenth position. Sebestyen was able to improve on his time set in the morning session getting into the 46s and is confident for qualifying tomorrow.

Sebestyen said: “I’m not satisfied with today as after the test I wanted more.  Maybe I tried to push too much this morning.  This afternoon we found a better setting even though the track condition was very different as the track temperature went up.  In my last run I was in traffic and could not get the best lap.  Tomorrow I would like to get behind a faster rider to see lines and other things which will help me improve.  This is only my second ride on the bike but I am working well with my crew and we are confident we can improve in qualifying tomorrow.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Kyle is comfortably into Superpole 2 for qualifying and his race pace looks good.  We need to find a bit more for the one fast lap but I am confident we can.  We are on course for the top six in qualifying and the race.  This is only the second time we have used Mectronik ECU.  We used it at the test but I cannot say thanks enough to Marco and Claudio for their support here and we are making big strides with the new system.  Great job by Stu, George, Harry and the whole team working with them.”

“Peter was trying to push too hard this morning and was in slower traffic on his final run.  We did try to get him out with Kyle but he got a couple of riders in between and missed out on this chance to learn from him.  That said 15th is another good step in the right direction for Peter and I think he will qualify better.  We need to work together with him to get the best from those first two laps on a new tyre to help him gain his full potential in qualifying.  He is looking good for our target of points in the race.”

Free Practices Combined Results

1 J. Cluzel 1’45.054

2 L. Mahias +0.104

3 S. Cortese +0.120

4 F. Caricasulo +0.271

5 R. Krummenacher +0.737

6 L. Stapleford +0.768

7 K. Smith CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +0.771

8 H. Soomer +0.915

9 A. Badovini +1.005

10 C. Perolari +1.045

15 P. Sebestyen CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +1.936