Motul Italian Round commences with Rea, Davies and Sykes in the top three in WorldSBK FP1 session
As the action got underway on the fifth weekend of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in Italy on Friday morning it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who led the way with a 1’47.023 best time in FP1, followed by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) in the top three.
World Champion Rea has been in superb form over the first four rounds of the season and showed that he intends to maintain his dominance at Imola, lapping 0.256s quicker than his nearest rivals Davies and Sykes who were classified with the same 1’47.279 lap time in the first practice of the weekend. Davies, who won both races at Imola in 2016, will aim to peg Rea back as the action continues at Round 5.
Italian rider Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) and Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) completed the FP1 top five, though the Spaniard suffered a crash towards the end of the session as he lost the front end of his Ducati Panigale R.
Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was sixth fastest despite a technical problem which saw the English rider pull off track on his MV Agusta 1000 F4 in the final ten minutes of the session.
The top ten was completed by Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team), Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team). The American also crashed in the final moments of the practice, but like Fores was soon back on his feet.
The WorldSBK riders will be back on track at 2.30pm local time in Italy for FP2.