Kawasaki rider fastest in first Friday session as he hunts down second title
WorldSBK riders hit the floodlit Losail International Circuit at 17:45 local time (GMT+3) for the first practice session of the final weekend of the 2016 season. Not only will this year’s World Championship be decided this weekend, but Round 13 is always contested during the night at the desert circuit, making the final showdown one to remember.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) has shown early on that he means business as he charges towards his crowning in the Middle East. A spectacular lap by the Northern Irishman in the final two minutes of the session saw him charge to the top of the timesheets ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing –Ducati) in second, while Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) finished in third.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) had a good run in the early evening session to finish in fourth fastest, with his teammate Sylvain Guintoli locking out the top five. Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team) put in the sixth fastest time with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) coming in close behind in seventh. Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing -Ducati) ended the session in eighth, showing his shoulder issues are back under control. Jordi Torres was the first Althea BMW Racing Team rider home in ninth, while his teammate Raffaele De Rosa came home in tenth.
De Rosa joins his WorldSBK Althea BMW teammates this weekend after winning the 2016 STK1000 Cup at the last Round in Jerez. He put in consistent times throughout the session before crashing out at turn 6, with five minutes of the session remaining. He wasn’t hurt and quickly picked up the bike to rejoin, finally putting in the tenth quickest time.
Championship contender Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) showed he will need to put a lot of work in to catch his teammate this weekend, after finishing outside of the top 10 in 13th. Local man Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Racing) improved his time throughout the session and eventually finished in 19th.
WorldSBK will be back on track at 21:00 local time as they fight it out for entry to Tissot-Superpole 2, ahead of Race 1 on Saturday the 29th October.