Mahias shines brightest in tight Superpole battle

Saturday, 15 September 2018 14:00 GMT

GRT one-two in Portimao qualifying with championship top six covering both front rows

Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) will return to the front row for the first time since Donington Park back in May after taking pole position at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. The Frenchman was inches away from beating the lap record for an FIM Supersport World Championship machine and will resume his championship challenge in style after a couple of disappointing rounds.

Mahias will be accompanied on the front row by teammate Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), who arrived at Portimao off the back of his first win of the season. The Italian starts in second and will be feeling confident for the Portuguese showdown tomorrow.

WorldSSP leader Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) will complete the front row in Sunday’s race, just ahead of main championship rival Jules Cluzel (NRT) in fourth. The pair are again evenly matched for the ninth round of the season and will be prepared for another titanic tussle, with just five points separating them in the standings.

Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) starts in fifth tomorrow in Algarve, in search of his sixth consecutive podium finish and after qualifying through Superpole 1; Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) meanwhile closes row two in sixth position and will again have to fight back to keep his championship options alive.

Seventh on the grid on Sunday will go to Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), the first Honda machine in qualifying, ahead of Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag). Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will begin from the back of row three in ninth position, while Hannes Soomer (Racedays) confirmed his best Superpole performance of 2018 with the tenth fastest time on Saturday. WorldSSP debutant Héctor Barberà (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will start from thirteenth on the Portimao grid.

Lights out for the ninth race of the season is at 13:45 local time (12:45 GMT) tomorrow. Catch all of the day’s action live and OnDemand thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.