Superbike races attract thousands of fans

More than 86,000 people visited the International Autodrome of the Algarve last weekend to witness the 12th and last round of the World Superbike and Supersport Championships.

Following the opening free practice session on Friday, local Parkalgar Honda hero and top three contender Sam Lowes said: “The weather is brilliant, we are on the pace and know there is much more speed to come. It’s a great weekend and I can’t thank the Portuguese fans enough for their support, they are great!”

Unfortunately events did not quite unfold as hoped for from the young Englishman’s point of view.

Despite an unsatisfactory sixth place on the starting grid, he managed to make up the lost ground to close on race winner and new champion Chaz Davies but crashed out of the race on lap ten.

“I fell at turn five, and it was a strange one because I just lost the front end. I must have done something wrong to crash and I am disappointed because I knew that I could fight for the win when I went fastest in warm-up this morning,” said Sam Lowes.

“I feel as if I have had a very strong end to the year, despite this fall, because I have had three podiums recently.”

Lowes ended his full rookie season sixth overall and scored six podiums in 12 races- while fellow Briton Davies is moving up a division to Superbikes with Ducati next season Lowes must be a genuine title contender in 2012.

Parkalgar Honda team mate Miguel Praia enjoyed a more successful weekend finishing in eighth, as did sister outfit Bogdanka PTR Honda’s James Ellison in third place.

In the Superbike category, Spanish Carlos Checa celebrated his title with another victory, Marco Melandri and former Parkalgar Honda favourite Eugene Laverty completing the podium.

Next year, the FIM calendar has the Portimão venue pencilled in for the penultimate round of the Supersport Championship on September 23.