Superbike is back after a three-week break, with the Portimao round, back on the calendar after being noticeably absent last year. In January, teams had the chance to carry out a two-day test and ready their weapons in preparation for the September race. On that occasion it was Chaz Davies who dominated, setting the best overall time, a 1’42”594.
But we should point out that the Kawasakis of Johnny Rea and Tom Sykes were not present, preferring to test in Portugal in April. Five months ago the Cannibal proved unbeatable, smashing the Superpole record that has stood since 2013 and stopping the clock on 1’41″360.
Basically, the Northern Irishman sent a clear message to his rivals. It might also be true that the title is already in his hands but we're sure that, after his Lausitziring double, Chaz Davies has no intention of giving up the highest step of the rostrum without a fight. We will likely witness the umpteenth fight between the long-time rivals, without forgetting Tom Sykes, called upon to consolidate second place in the standings with the Ducati rider just 35 points behind.
And then there's Marco Melandri, who scored his last win in Portimao, in 2013, while riding the BMW. The track holds no secrets for the Italian, who is looking for his second victory of the season. The Portuguese weekend is also an opportunity for the two Yamahas, seeking a podium after the last two rounds. The spotlight is on Alex Lowes, but particularly on Michael van der Mark, who will stand in for Valentino Rossi at Aragon, without ever having tested the M1. An absolute debut.
Back to the production-derived bikes and there's great expectation when it comes to Aprilia. Yes, because at the January test, Lorenzo Savadori impressived everybody, finishing just behind the Ducati of Chaz Davies. Leon Camier is also on a roll, having scored a memorable fifth place with the MV Agusta in Germany.
Lastly, we look at the new entries, with Alessandro Andreozzi, on track with Guandalini's Yamaha. The Italian will take the reins from Massimo Roccoli, while Puccetti hires Anthony West, who will take the place of Randy Krummenacher, forced to end his season ahead of time due to a fractured wrist. What can we say, the Australian definitely deserves this opportunity.