First World Championship Point for Takahashi as Bradl Crashes Out of Eighth Place

The opening race at the Portuguese Round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has been contested today at Portimão’s Autodromo do Algarve, with Stefan Bradl forced to an early retirement after crashing out of eighth place on lap three. His Red Bull Honda World Superbike team mate for the round, Takumi Takahashi, crossed the line in 15th position and by doing so he earned his first World Superbike point.

After successfully taking part in Superpole 2 and then qualifying in eighth place on the grid for the 20-lap race, Stefan Bradl got a great launch off row three and by the end of the opening lap he was already up to sixth position. The German rider then lost one place after running wide at turn 1 and, as the third lap was drawing to a close, he had a highside at turn 14: due to the damage sustained by the bike during the crash, he was unable to re-join the encounter.

Takumi Takahashi started his maiden World Superbike race from 19th place on the grid and, after maintaining his position at the start, he found his own rhythm as he continued to make experience with the WorldSBK-spec version of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 and Pirelli tires around the 4.592km track located in the southwestern edge of mainland Europe.

Takumi Takahashizoom
Takumi Takahashi
Stefan Bradlzoom
Stefan Bradl

Honda Rider Comments

Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
Race result: Race 1 / DNF
“Unfortunately, this crash actually happened in the race: I was a good position and feeling comfortable on the bike, but maybe I pushed a bit too hard at turn 14 because the bike slipped away a little bit and I was thrown over the handlebar. A pity for the result really, but luckily we have another chance tomorrow: I got checked by the medical centre and I’m good to go, I feel OK and ready to give it another try. We need to keep the positives from today because I think we can have a good race and finish the weekend on a high note.”
Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
Race result: Race 1 / 15th
“It was a difficult race because at the beginning I was struggling a bit with the front and could not get up to speed. Because of this, I was unable to stay with the riders in front of me, meaning I rode on my own for the most part of the race. In the end we were a bit lucky to get one point, but the goal for tomorrow is to stay with those riders, make more experience and to actually earn that point.”
Ronald ten Kate – Team Manager
“The start of Stefan’s race was really good and we were all enjoying seeing him up there where we all think he can be. Surely it was a pity for the crash but thankfully enough he wasn’t hurt, so he’s ready to race again tomorrow. Takahashi was able to collect his first-ever World Championship point today: it hasn’t been an easy weekend so far for him – it’s a steep learning curve – but he is making more and more experience, which is the most important thing. He was able to set the same lap-time both at the beginning and at the end of the race, which means that there has been an improvement. Hopefully tomorrow he will be able to get in a mix and battle with the other riders.”
Takumi Takahashizoom
Takumi Takahashi
Stefan Bradlzoom
Stefan Bradl

Takahashi Wraps Up WorldSBK Debut With Top-10 Finish as Injury Sidelines Bradl

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has secured a top-10 finish today at Portimão’s Autodromo do Algarve courtesy of Takumi Takahashi, who wraps up his World Superbike debut in style after scoring his first World Championship point in race one yesterday. Full-time rider Stefan Bradl was unable to line up on the grid today due to a painful right wrist.

Takahashi enjoyed a good start from 18th place on the grid and immediately settled into a good rhythm, which allowed him to gain some positions. As the encounter reached its halfway point, the Japanese rider was promoted to 11th place. He then brilliantly maintained his position by getting some margin over the following riders. In the final stages of the encounter, Takumi made his way into the top-10, which he held onto up to the checkered flag.

Takahashi now leaves Portimão with a tally of six points and a lot more experience ahead of his track WorldSBK return, scheduled at Jerez in a little more than a month’s time.

After yesterday’s highside at turn 14 during race 1 – which had apparently left the German uninjured – Stefan Bradl endured severe pain in his right wrist overnight. The 27-year-old German rider tried to get on track this morning on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 for warm up in order to test his condition, but after a quick-lap attempt the pain became too strong for him to use the throttle accordingly, so he had to make his way back to the pits.

He then returned to the Medical Centre, where he was declared unfit to race due a right-wrist functional impairment. Stefan will return home to undergo an MRI scan to investigate possible micro damage in his wrist, which x-ray scans did not reveal between yesterday and this morning.

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team will stop at Portimão for a day of official testing tomorrow, before returning to its home base in the Netherlands to start the preparations for the French Round, which takes place at Magny-Cours in a fortnight’s time.

Honda Rider Comments

Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
Race result: Race 2 / 10th
“Today we made some improvements with the set-up on the bike and, although I had the same kind of issue to get up to speed in the early stages, in the last part of the race I found myself in a position trying to bridge the gap with Badovini for ninth place before the checkered flag. We managed to finish in the top-10 with a bit of luck today and we garnered more experience, so I am now looking forward to Jerez, a track I know already, in order to push for more.”
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
Race result: Race 2 / DNS
“Unfortunately, yesterday’s crash led to some problems with my wrist. We did an x-ray yesterday and it showed no fracture or damage, but during the night the situation got a bit worse because I was really in lots of pain. I tried this morning during warm up with the help of Clinica Mobile – who I want to thank for the help – but I noticed almost immediately that I didn’t have the full control of the bike. I wasn’t fast because I was not in a condition to push, so I went back to the Clinica and the doctor suggested an MRI scan back home in order to search for any possible tiny crack or ligament damage that would explain the pain. Another very unlucky weekend for us, especially because we showed signs of improvement and things were looking better. But we can take these positives into the next race at Magny-Cours and I really hope I will be fully fit for then.”
Ronald ten Kate – Team Manager
“This morning during warm up we found out that Stefan’s problem was worse than we had feared. He tried to ride but he was in pain and had limited movement in the wrist, and therefore was declared unfit to ride. It’s a shame because he was looking good this weekend and we could have used another try for a good result. Takumi improved his performance from yesterday and a top-10 result is really good, considering it was his maiden weekend in the series. I’m sure things will be easier for him at Jerez, with the experience he’s made this weekend and his previous knowledge of the track.”
Takumi Takahashizoom
Takumi Takahashi

World Superbike and World Supersport 2017
Round 10: Algarve International Circuit – Portugal

Superbike Race 1
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
2 Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati)
3 Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati)
4 Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
5 Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
6 Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)
7 Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)
8 Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia)
9 Xavi Forés (BARNI Racing Team)
10 Román Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven)
11 Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team)
12 Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team)
13 Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
14 Riccardo Russo (Pedercini Racing SC-Project)
15 Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
Superbike Race 2
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)
2 Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
3 Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati)
4 Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia)
5 Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)
6 Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia)
7 Leandro Mercado (IODARacing)
8 Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
9 Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team)
10 Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team)
11 Ondrej Jezek (Grillini Racing Team)
12 Andreozzi Alessandro (Guandalini Racing)
13 Xavi Forés (BARNI Racing Team)
14 Riccardo Russo (Pedercini Racing SC-Project)
15 Román Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven)
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
2 Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team)
3 Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)
4 Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing)
5 PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
6 Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing)
7 Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team)
8 Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Factory Vamag)
9 Christoffer Bergman (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)
10 Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Jenik – Against Cancer)
11 Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing)
12 Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)
13 Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI)
14 Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven)
15 Hannes Soomer (WILSport Racedays)
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