World champion in this class in 2017 Mahias has now scored an enviable record of 22 podium finishes, including seven race victories, after 50 individual race starts. He was fourth in Jerez last week, and then third in race for his first podium finish of the year.
Just two rounds into his new career in WorldSSP Öttl scored his first WorldSSP podium at Jerez, and followed that up with a fourth place in race two.
This weekend’s 4.592km long venue in Portugal is not as well known to Öttl as the Spanish one was last time out but he has already tested his Ninja ZX-6R there and gained valuable information to aim for the podium again this weekend.
At the most recent round, as at the forthcoming Portimão event, the riders will have two races, not the more usual one, in the WorldSSP class. The effects of Covid-19 have reduced the number of the scheduled rounds and to maintain the total of races at a high enough level, each round from now on will feature one race on Saturday and one more on Sunday.
Action gets underway for both riders, and a strong field of potential adversaries, on Friday 7 August, in what are expected to be hot conditions, albeit less oppressive than those endured by all at Jerez.
Right now Mahias is third in the championship and Öttl fifth, after three full races. The final length of the calendar is still unknown, thanks to Covid-19 determined circumstances beyond the control of the series organisers. This unknown means that every early race result may prove more important than during any previous season.
After the two Portimão races have been completed, more Iberian action is on the cards with two full championship rounds taking place - on consecutive weekends for the first time – at the impressive Motorland Aragon circuit in northern Spain. Round four will the first of them, between August 28 and 30.
Lucas Mahias, stated: “The Portuguese track is one of my favourites. In the last three years, I’ve always been on the podium and last year I scored third place in both Superpole and the race. At Jerez, we struggled to find a good setting for my bike, also due to the heat. I hope that the weather in Portimão is less problematic, so we can quickly adapt my bike to the undulating surface of the track and aim for our first win of the season.”
Philipp Öttl, stated: “I’ve only ridden at Portimão once, during winter testing, but I really liked the track. It’s a typical Superbike layout, very technical and tough to interpret but also fast, and I learned it quickly. We’ll start with the set-up we found in testing and will try to adapt it to the different weather conditions. I hope to further improve my feeling with the bike and score some good results.”
WorldSSP300 champion in 2019, Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) showed strongly in race two at Jerez for a time and will be all out for a career best result. So far his best is eighth, which also puts him eighth in the championship standings.
Ninja ZX-6R rider Can Öncü (Turkish Puccetti Racing) is also a new to the WorldSSP scene in 2020, currently sitting in 12th position.