The Brit ahead of Marco Melandri for only a fraction of a second.
Only 37 thousandths of a second separated Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) at the end of second free practice for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island. Following a wet morning session that saw only few riders taking to the track, the whole field made the most of the near perfect conditions to continue their preparation for the debut races of the year. Rookie sensation Lowes started off well by moving on top of the classification and kept the lead as the session progressed, followed by team mate Eugene Laverty.
As the on track action moved into the final stages, Melandri elevated himself to second ahead of fellow Italian Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), who also climbed up the timings in the late stages. The reigning Champion had an off track moment before regrouping to put in his session best, whilst on the other hand team mate Loris Baz suffered his third crash of the week, fortunately unhurt. The young Frenchman finished eighth behind Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), who was seventh, Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who dropped to sixth and Haslam's team mate Jonathan Rea, who eventually climbed to fifth in the final minutes.
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) suffered a spectacular high side at turn 9 and was taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks. Race 1 winner last year Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) rounded out the top 10.
A three way battle for twelfth place involved EVO riders NiccolòCanepa (Althea Racing Team Ducati), Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team), with Italian Canepa coming out on top to lead the EVO field.
World Superbike action will resume tomorrow morning for the third free practice session and the last chance for all riders to make it into the first Tissot-Superpole of the year.