0.025 seconds separate top two in Qatar
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) took top honours in the second Free Practice session at the Losail International Circuit of Qatar with a scorching lap of 1’57.656. The Englishman leads the way into the final Friday session ahead of Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), the only two riders to complete a lap under 1’58.
With Losail’s 3,600 lightbulbs now fully fired up, it was Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) turn to power back following a luckless FP1. The Northern Irishman claimed the top spot halfway through the session over a combative Laverty, who remained nestled between the two KRT riders all the way up to the final third of the session.
The timesheets changed wildly in the final minutes, however, with Lowes moving into P1 by over half a second. Laverty followed suit a few minutes after, crossing the line just 0.025 seconds short of the Englishman’s best time. The Irishman had one final attempt to beat Lowes with the chequered flag down, but it will be the Yamaha rider who enters the final session of the day in command.
Rea was unable to fight back and falls to third after FP2, followed closely by KRT teammate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team WorldSBK) remains in fifth position and is provisionally the best Ducati in Qatar, with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) falling to sixth position and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) only just nudging into tenth.
Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) climbs up to seventh position after FP2, with Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) in eighth, and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) joining the top ten in ninth position.
The session was briefly interrupted after a crash from Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), with the red flags coming out just eight minutes in.
It’s pitch black in Losail, but that doesn’t mean that the racing is over! Still to come: the final free practice session of the day which can be followed through live timing, and all the highlights from today’s action, available thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.