The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has completed the opening day of action at the tenth round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship, with Stefan Bradl rounding out the top-10 at the end of the two free practice sessions at Portimão and therefore qualifying directly for Superpole 2. His team mate for the Portuguese event, Takumi Takahashi, finished his debut WorldSBK day in 18th place.
Bradl got off to a good start this morning by setting the ninth fastest time of Free Practice 1. The 27-year-old German rider worked hard with his crew on finding the best set-up for his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 and was able to improve his performance on every outing. In the final minutes of FP2, Stefan moved back into the top-10 after breaking the 1’44secs barrier to log a final 1’43.957secs lap-time, which was enough for him to clinch a well deserved tenth place.
Takumi Takahashi had a lot of work to do in his first-ever day in World Superbike: not only the Japanese rider had to find his way around the challenging 4.592 Km Algarve track, but he also had to get to grips with the WorldSBK-spec version of the Fireblade and the Pirelli tyres, which he never used before. The Japanese made a significant improvement in the afternoon and he is now looking forward to more track-time tomorrow, starting from FP3 at 9:05 local time (GMT +1) and then moving on to Superpole 1 (11:00) and Race 1 (15:00).