Most teams were on hand during the first official test of the World Superbike season, held at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, Portugal, though a notable absentee was the factory BMW outfit. So in spite of the uncooperative weather the times posted were interesting with four different makes in the top 10.
Fastest over the three days with a time of 1’43.503 was Jakub Smrz on a Ducati 1098, running in a new team called Effenbert-Liberty Racing, with Ten Kate Castrol Honda’s Jonathon Rea a couple of tenths behind.
Next up was “new boy” Eugene Laverty on the Yamaha World Superbike team out of Italy, followed by Tom Sykes on one of the official Kawasaki Racing Team entries. Those latter two were mere hundredths of a second behind Rea’s time. The spread from first to 10th was a mere 1.2 seconds.
The rest of the top 10 were rounded out by:
5. Carlos Checa, Althea Racing Ducati 1098R
6. Max Biaggi, Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team RSV4 Factory
7. Michel Fabrizio, Team Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000
8. Sylvain Guintoli, Effenbert-Liberty Racing, Ducati 1098R
9. Leon Camier, Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team RSV4 Factory
10. Joan Lascorz, Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R