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SBK, Rea closes on top, but the surprise is Leon Camier

The Cannibal proves fastest at the Portimao test, ahead of the Honda rider. Lowes 3rd, Razgatlioglu 5th, the Ducatis play catch-up

SBK: Rea closes on top, but the surprise is Leon Camier

One thing is certain: Johnny Rea will leave for Australia with a smile on his face. The final January test could not have gone any better for him. The Kawasaki rider has once again led the way at Portimao, setting a best of 1’41”485. After completing just 26 laps, the Cannibal was just 0.010 slower than he was yesterday. His ZX-10RR might be down on power but it little matters as it's clearly still superior. On the other side of the garage, Tom Sykes closed eight tenths behind his team-mate (+0.827), forced to settle for sixth place. The Englishman completed 45 laps, also fitting in a long run.

Monday's surprise came in the shape of Leon Camier (+0.138). It's been a while since we've seen such a competitive Honda and the Ten Kate rider sent a clear message to his rivals, improving by almost a second and a half with respect to Sunday. The fact he finishes just one tenth from Rea only confirms the Fireblade's growth. The team has continued to work with the Cosworth ECU, leaving the Magneti Marelli system to PJ Jacobsen, who crashed in the afternoon and was forced to finish up early.

While Leon shines, so too does young Toprak Razgatlioglu (+0.620), able to power the Puccetti team's Kawasaki into fifth place. The Turk is keen to make an immediate impression. He is preceded by Lowes  (+0.148) and van der Mark (+0.543) on the Yamahas. With the new regulation, the two R1 appear to have found their way. Here's hoping they can consolidate this performance in Australia.

Meanwhile, the Ducatis of Chaz Davies (+1.057) and Marco Melandri (+1.117) play catch-up, more than a second from the front. If we look at the standings, we might be worried but the Borgo Panigale men preferred to concentrate on race preparation and pace rather than the flying lap.

Placing ahead of the two red bikes is the Aprilia of Eugene Laverty (8th, +1.015), while that of Lorenzo Savadori (+1.749) closes in fourteenth place, behind Michael Rinaldi's Panigale. Jordi Torres rounds out the top ten on the MV, just getting the better of Xavi Forés  on the Ducati and Loris Baz on the BMW.

American Gagne suffered a crash in the early afternoon and was taken to hospital for further tests.

Among the SuperSport bikes, Ayrton Badovini led the way, followed by Sofuoglu and Tuuli. Then Raffaele De Rosa. Teams will return to the track on 19-20 February at Phillip Island for the final tests prior to round one.


Translated by Heather Watson

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