Testing times.jpg

Testing times

Rain accompanied the first official World Superbike Championship tests in Portimão last Monday and Tuesday.

Present at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (AIA) were BMW, Aprilia Pata, Aprilia Test Team, Honda Ten Kate, Supersonic Ducati and Suzuki featuring motorbike racing household names such as Troy Corser, James Toseland, Jonathan Rea and Alex Hofmann.

Whether the Algarve experience will have been of any benefit to those involved should become apparent from February 27 when the 2011 season roars into action in Australia. Interestingly, next year’s 13-race schedule reaches its October 16 climax on the very same Motor Park track sampled this week.

More motor racing sneak previews are on show at the AIA Thursday (yesterday) and today (Friday) with the debut of FIA-sanctioned Formula 2 tests.

The category was brought to life in 2009 principally as a testing ground for aspiring Formula One pilots and has enjoyed great popularity since. The sessions are open to the public and tickets, priced at €5 including paddock access, can be obtained at the on-track box office.

Elsewhere, Portuguese drivers enjoyed a highly successful weekend with Filipe Albuquerque, last seen at the regional Southern European Race of Champions (ROC) finals in Portimao, taking the year’s overall Champion of Champions crown in Germany.

The 25-year-old A1 Grand Prix ace saw off the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Sebastien Loeb at Dusseldorf’s Esprit Arena to claim the title for this country for the first time.

At the same time, the Portuguese team comprising Pedro Lamy, António Coimbra, Luis Silva and José Pedro Fontes were the big winners of the TT 24-hour event in Fronteira.