The Superbikes are off to the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, seat of the 10th round of the World Championship scheduled for September 6 to 8. Located near the city of Portimão and not far from the Arade River estuary (Portugal), the track was inaugurated in October 2008. Since then, the World Superbike Championship has always held a round here, the only exception being in 2016 when it was replaced by the round in Monza then canceled.
Two weeks ago, the Superbikes went through two days of testing in Portimão. Designed by Ricardo Pina, the track has been equated with roller coasters due to the continuous up and down that distinguishes it. The maximum gradient on uphill climbs reaches 6% and it is 12% going downhill, while the transverse tilt in some points gets up to 8%.
The track includes every type of element, from the 970 meters (0.6 miles) straight to hairpin turns taken at 60 km/h (37 mph) and curves with a 160 meters (525 feet) radius and sudden changes in direction. Since the circuit is near the Atlantic Ocean and there are no challenging braking sections lined up in a row, there is no risk of overheating the brakes.
According to Brembo technicians, who work closely with 15 World Superbike riders, Autódromo Internacional do Algarve is a fairly demanding circuit for the brakes.
On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 3 on the difficulty index, exactly the same score given to the track at Losail, where the championship season will end.