The opening WorldSBK session at Jerez saw a series of fast laps in the final minutes and ended with Rea on top, as Lowes and Melandri were also in top 3
As the riders undertook their first practice at the Pirelli Spanish Round it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who registered the fastest lap of the superb 4.423km Circuito de Jerez with an excellent late 1’40.291 time. The triple World Champion really picked up the pace in the latter stages of FP1 on a resurfaced track and was 0.6s faster than closest challenger Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team). Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) was just 0.002s behind Lowes in third.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) was fourth best, with Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) both provisionally leading before ending up fifth and sixth respectively.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) completed the top ten.
2014 World Champion Sylvain Guintoli was back in action getting to grips with the Kawasaki ZX-10RR, riding for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing at the final two rounds of the season, lapping 13th quickest in FP1 on his return to WorldSBK action.
Takumi Takahashi (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) got a feel for the Jerez track on his Honda CBR1000RR in 19th place.
Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) lost the front at turn one in the final minutes of the session but the Italian walked away unhurt. Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) had a copycat spill at the same turn shortly afterwards and was also soon back on his feet.
The action continues at the penultimate round of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in the south of Spain on Friday afternoon with the WorldSBK riders returning to the track for FP2 at 2.30pm local time.