Prospects of close racing on Sunday after Ducati and Kawasaki head the opening session.
After the opening 45 minute FP1 that kick started the Acerbis Italian Round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship it’s the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team duo of Chaz Davies and the returning Davide Giugliano that are sitting pretty at the top of the standings ahead of the Kawasaki Racing Team pairing of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea.
Davies lapped the 4.9km circuit nestled in the town of Imola in a time of 1.48.056s to edge out a local rider and team mate Giugliano who delighted the home fans with a spirited ride to 2nd on his return to the paddock (+0.219s).
Former champion Tom Sykes was 3rd (+0.264s) ahead of current championship leader Rea finished just under half a second behind the leading Ducati of Davies.
Spain’s David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) produced his best Free Practice result of the year so far to finish 6th overall ahead of BMW Motorrad Italia rider Ayrton Badovini and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who slotted into 8th towards the end of the 45 minutes.
Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) rounded out the top ten.
Niccolo Canepa made his debut with the Grillini SBK Team, finishing a credible 15th on his first Kawasaki outing.
Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) crashed his Ducati Panigale at turn to on his out lap, the reigning FIM Superstock 1000c Cup Champion returned to the track with 5 minutes to go eventually completing 2 flying laps, moving into 16th overall. Randy de Puniet’s (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) tough start to the year continued, the Frenchman crashing out unhurt at turn 3 with 14 minutes to go. He ended up 17th on the timesheet.
FP2 is scheduled to take place at 15:00 local time.