WSBK Portimao 2013 preview

The 27-year-old British rider’s two wins at Donington Park marked the first time he had on both races at a round of the series, and he now has points leader Sylvain Guintoli firmly in his sights. After the heartbreak of missing out on last year’s title by just half a point, the Kawasaki man has responded with great character to get himself back into the title battle, after a slow start to the season when he was hampered by a wrist injury. Sykes won at Portimão last season and a repeat of that result could see him leave Portugal with the championship lead, and the Huddersfield racer expects to be strong over the next few rounds. He said: “I have been in World Superbikes for a few years, and to get the first double win on home soil is a fairytale. The Ninja ZX-10R is working well, and I feel very motivated. We are racing in a World Championship and these guys are as fast as you like and very competitive, so it is not as easy at it looked at Donington.”

“Kawasaki is a very close unit and we have worked hard, and everybody has seen how much better we are in the races. I really enjoyed the support from the crowd and I hope they enjoyed the show. There was no better place to do my first double than at Donington.”

“It was a good weekend for us and we are closer in the championship, just four points from the top. We’re in a strong situation, we have a good base setting on the bike, and now we are going to some fantastic circuits.”

Aprilia rider Guintoli may have seen his points lead slashed at Donington, but the Frenchman remains bullish after taking a double podium in the European round, and expects the Italian team to be fighting for victories in Portugal. He said: “Third and second were excellent results for the championship on a track where we are not able to take full advantage of the RSV4’s potential. Now we are off for Portimão, a track which is very well suited for the characteristics of my Aprilia, where we will be able to do some good teamwork.”