GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team riders, Lucas Mahias and Federico Caricasulo, will start tomorrow’s 18-lap World Supersport race from positions one and two on the grid after dominating qualifying in Portimão this afternoon. European Supersport Cup rider, Alfonso Coppola, will start the race from 21st position on the grid, after the Italian youngster significantly improved his lap time during qualifying.
Both Mahias and Caricasulo go into tomorrow’s race, Round 9 of the FIM World Supersport Championship, confident of fighting for the win, after showing remarkable and consistent pace in both race and qualifying trim in every session so far this weekend. But in qualifying it was Mahias who came out on top, securing his fourth pole position of the season by just 0.3s from teammate Caricasulo.
Mahias currently lies fifth in the championship, 35 points behind series leader Sandro Cortese, with Caricasulo one place higher in the standings and one point closer to the top. Both GRT Yamaha riders head into tomorrow’s 18-lap encounter determined to close the gap with two good results.
Coppola was forced to play catch up in this morning’s final free practice session, having missed out on track time in FP2 yesterday due to a technical problem. The WorldSSP rookie continued to adapt to the demands of both his YZF-R6 and the extremely technical Portimão circuit in FP3 this morning, before going on to set his fastest time of the weekend in qualifying this afternoon, boosting his confidence ahead of tomorrow’s race in the process.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – P1 – 1:44.588
“I’m really happy to be back at the top after two good days here in Portimão. This morning in FP3 I found a really good rhythm and finished top of the timesheet, so I know that my race pace is good. At the start of qualifying I wasn’t pushing for pole position, because the first row is enough, and there was quite a bit of wind, which made things a little difficult. Then on the second tyre I pushed a lot and when I looked the lap time I was quite happy with what I saw. It’s good for me, it’s good for the team and now we need to do the same in the race tomorrow.”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – P2 – 1:44.813
“I was hoping to do a little bit more in qualifying today, but I think a start from the front row is good enough for the race, so I’m happy enough with that. I’ve been fast and consistent in every session so far, so I am sure that we can go out there tomorrow and fight for the win. There are maybe five or six riders capable of winning here, but I’m confident we can take the fight to them and, if everything goes our way, come out on top.”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team – P21 – 1’47.987
“I made a good step today compared to yesterday, but at this track it’s very difficult to find the good line for every corner. I made a step forward today in FP3 and again in qualifying, but my ideal time also improved and this is very important. Tomorrow in warm up and in the race I need to concentrate on the lines on every lap, as this is as critical for the lap time here as how early you are on the gas or how late on the brakes.”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – Team Manager
“An incredible result today, but we knew before qualifying that we had a really high potential. We’ve worked a lot this weekend on race set up but then this morning we worked more on the lap time and ended the session first and second, so we knew we would be in a strong position in qualifying. To have two riders first and second shows what a great job both the team and the riders have done this weekend and I’m very pleased with the result. Now we are focused on the race because, of course, this is the most important part of the weekend. Alfonso lost some time yesterday, but continued to improve during the two sessions today, setting his fastest time of the weekend in qualifying, which proves we’re working in the right direction.”