Bright sunshine characterized the first day of action at the Autodromo Internacional do Alvarge in Portimao (Portugal).
Free practice for the Pirelli Portuguese Round, the eleventh and penultimate weekend of the 2023 WorldSBK season, ended with Alvaro Bautista and Michael Rinaldi in first and third place respectively in the combined standings.
Both Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team riders did an effective job during FP1 to improve significantly in FP2, especially in terms of race pace.
Bautista took the lead in Friday’s free practice session with a time of 1’40.476 while Rinaldi (second in FP2) finished 391 thousandths behind his team-mate.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1)
“We did a good job today. This morning, although the feeling was still positive, we chose to use, as usual, a tire solution that we won’t use during the races. In the afternoon, however, we went back to our preferred choice and the feeling was really very good. Do I think about the classification? Not really, I think race by race and I try to do my best. Then we’ll see”.
Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)
“I’m satisfied with how things went today. In FP1 we had some difficulties, especially in braking areas, but with the team we did a great job and the feeling improved a lot in the afternoon. We are still missing something compared to Alvaro’s pace but we still have high confidence”.
Third place for Nicolò Bulega and the Ducati Panigale V2 of the Aruba.it Racing WSSP Team. The Italian rider posted a time of 1’43.883, just 34 thousandths of a second off the best lap of Navarro (Yamaha) and five thousandths behind Montella (Ducati).
Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WSSP #11).
“It’s not a bad start but today I didn’t have the feeling I’ve had since Friday in the previous two rounds. Anyway, we know where we have to work in order to be able to take that small step tomorrow that will allow us to be even more competitive”.