Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will start Sunday’s WorldSSP race from the front row after securing the third fastest time in Superpole qualifying at Portimao today. In warm and sunny conditions Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished seventh fastest in Superpole.
Having completed the early Free Practice
sessions not entirely happy with his machine set-up Lucas Mahias
approached the 25-minute long Tissot-Superpole in seventh place after
all the free practice sessions had been completed, and before the fight
for final grid positions began.
The 2017 World Champion upped his game at the crucial time and took the third best time, and the 22nd front row start of his career.
Okubo just missed out on a second row start with his Superpole ride to seventh place. He had a lap cancelled after exceeding the track limits near the end of the session.
After consistently sunny and hot conditions were evident over the first two days of action at Portimao, more very fine weather is expected to welcome Sunday’s 18-lap race, which will be the ninth round of the 2019 season.
Lucas Mahias stated: “I am really happy and it is a pleasant surprise because yesterday my feeling on the bike was not so nice. My crew and mechanics worked a lot last night to understand what the problem was, and me too. I looked at the timesheets and video to understand what the problem was and this morning the feeling was not so bad. I had a little crash in the last part of FP3, but just a small one. I was not so confident for Superpole; I had hoped to finish on the second row but finally the lap time was not so bad. I pushed until the last lap. I followed pole man Caricasulo but I am not sure this was a good solution because he disturbed me a little – not because he was slow – but because I looking in front and did not have a big concentration on my own line. Third position is good for tomorrow in the race and I am happy.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I tried to push hard to take my best possible lap time so seventh position does not make me happy. My target is to get on the front row. I was not so far away, about 0.4 seconds, but the important thing is the race tomorrow. I will keep thinking about how to approach the race but I think if I can get away in the top group it will be possible to get on the podium. Tomorrow is a big chance and we will take it step-by-step.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) made the best of his recent official test experiences at Portimao by setting the sixth best time, earning a second row start. Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) placed himself on the third row of the grid with a ninth fastest time in Superpole.
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was a fine 17th after also recently testing at Portimao, while Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) was 19th and Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) 23rd today after being penalised twice for exceeding track limits. Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Leader Team Kawasaki) was 27th in Superpole.