News 16 Sep 2017

Kawasaki's Rea tops Friday's WorldSBK practice at Portimao

Sofuoglu charges to WorldSSP fast time on day one in Portugal.

Source: Supplied.

A late hot lap in FP2 on Friday afternoon in Portugal gave reigning world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) the top spot on the timesheets at 10th round of the Motul FIM World Superbike (WorldSBK) Championship, more than half a second clear of his nearest rival.

Speeding around the 4.592-kilometre Portimao track on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR with a best lap time of 1m42.621s at the end of the Friday afternoon session, Rea outpaced his rivals, with Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati) the second quickest rider – a 0.586s gap down on the championship leading Northern Irishman.

Melandri did well in FP2 after missing much of the earlier Friday morning session due to a technical fault and the Italian was provisionally top of timesheet with his 1m43.207s lap, before Rea took over in the lead.

Third fastest was Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati), just over a tenth of a second behind his colleague Melandri. It was also a good day for Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who performed well in third in FP1 before finishing the day fourth best overall after FP2.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was fifth, courtesy of a best time from FP1, after he was unable to improve in the afternoon.

In good weather conditions at Portimao Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) were also in the top 10.

Australia’s Anthony West was 19th fastest on debut with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, with this weekend marking his return to the premier class.

In WorldSSP, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who lapped quickest with a 1m45.443s time putting him ahead of his rivals, whilst Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) were also in the top three.

Lausitzring racewinner Morais registered the best effort in FP1 earlier in the day and his 1m45.829s lap time from that session put him second on the combined timesheets, with Sofuoglu taking over at the top late in FP2. Cluzel’s 1m45.848s time put him third overall, just over four tenths of a second down on Sofuoglu.

Charging round the 4.592km Portimao track championship leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) survived a big wobble at the end of FP2 and ended the day fourth, with American rider PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) completing the top five.

Aussies Lachlan Epis (Kawasaki) and Giuseppe Scarcella (Honda) were 27th and 29th, as countryman Mike Jones ( Racing – Junior Team) and Glenn Scott (Kawasaki) concluded the day 13th and 24th in the STK1000 division.

Bikes are back on the track on Saturday for qualifying, with racing set to take place on Sunday at the challenging Portugal circuit.