Championship leader leads KRT one-two in wet UK Round opener
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) picked up where he left off last year at Donington Park, with the fastest time in the first Free Practice session from Round 6 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was second, with Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) third.
Several riders tempted fate on Thursday by referring to the sunny weather forecast for the Leicestershire venue. It was asking for trouble: by Friday morning they were met with a drenched and windy track. Difficult conditions matter little to Sykes here, however: his best lap, halfway through the session, was two and a half seconds faster than anyone on track at the time.
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Rea, unusually for him this season, remained in the pits for the first half hour of the morning, only leaving his box for 6 laps. It was enough, however, with the Northern Irishman recording a best time of 1’44.229, over half a second better than his teammate. Only Baz remained relatively close, with the rest of the field more than two seconds behind.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), whose physical condition will be reviewed this morning to determine whether he is ready to complete the full Donington weekend, recorded the fourth fastest lap of the session, with Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), the best independent rider on track, in fifth, and Niccolò Canepa (Yamaha Motor Europe) sixth in his return to WorldSBK.
Completing the top ten were Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in seventh, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) eighth, PJ Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team) in ninth and, finally, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) tenth. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), second in the championship, is provisionally out of the Superpole 2, with the 13th best time in FP1.