Honda rider tops second practice session on Friday
With Friday now defining entry to Superpole 2, Michael Van Der Mark put in a fastest time of 1’34.770 to be the first to graduate to the qualifying session to fight for the top grid positions on Saturday.
After FP1 saw a lack of grip at Chang International Circuit prove a challenge for some, FP2 saw times tumble at the top of the table and a rush of activity towards the end of the session. With Sykes topping the timesheets around a quarter of the way in with a lap down into the 1’35 bracket, the KRT riders set a 1-2 in the session ahead of Chaz Davies’ Ducati in P3.
Honda’s Van Der Mark then took over in the top three ahead of Reiterberger in P4, showing the first flash of pace that would later see the Dutchman set the fastest lap of the day. With 15 minutes to go, the top KRT pair then switched places, with Rea pipping his teammate to the quickest time.
Van Der Mark was then the first rider to lap under the 1’35 bracket and the lap proved good enough to stay at the top of the timesheets until the end of the session, with Yamaha’s Guintoli the only rider to come within two tenths of the Honda rider’s lap, 0.182 seconds off.
Spanish rider Jordi Torres then set a late charge for P3, the Althea BMW rider recovering from his elbow injury in testing to rejoin the fight at the front, just ahead of Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.
The top ten from Friday gain automatic entry to Superpole 2 on Saturday, with the session then deciding the final grid positions for both races.
Bikes will be back on track tomorrow for the shorter FP3 ahead of lights going out for Race 1 at 4pm local time, (9am GMT).