Lowes on Top as the Engines Fire Up

Friday, 8 July 2016 18:45 GMT

Pata Yamaha rider sets fastest time in first practice at Laguna Seca with a stunning final lap

Pata Yamaha rider Alex Lowes has gone quickest in FP1 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as the sun came out to burn away the cloud and provide the perfect backdrop to the first session of WorldSBK track action. The Brit, who is coming back to full health after a broken collarbone in Sepang, set the lap time in a final dash after the session was red-flagged with a few minutes left on the clock due to a technical issue for Raffaele De Rosa. Racing – Ducati rider Chaz Davies, who did the double at Laguna in 2015, was the second fastest man on track after having dominated the majority of the session.

Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea got off to an impressive start at Laguna Seca with the third fastest lap as the incumbent King of WorldSBK concentrated on setup, ahead of Honda World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark, who was second fastest until then being pushed down the fourth in the final few minutes. The Dutchman ended the session just ahead of teammate and home hero Nicky Hayden on the second Fireblade, with the Kentucky Kid eager to race at home and return to the track that saw him take MotoGP wins in 2005 and 2006.

Barni Racing rider Xavi Forés, despite a slightly interesting line down the inside of the Corkscrew in the latter stages of the session, set the fifth fastest time, ahead of Niccolo Canepa on the second Pata Yamaha machine and Althea BMW rider Jordi Torres, who started his rookie Races at Laguna Seca in 2015 from the front row.

Davies’ teammate Davide Giugliano ended FP1 in P9, ahead of second KRT rider Tom Sykes, who rounded out the top ten. IodaRacing pair Lorenzo Savadori and Alex De Angelis were P11 and P12, ahead of Roman Ramos, Karel Abraham and Anthony West  rounding out the top 15. One absence on the timesheets in the first session was MV Agusta Reparto Corse rider Leon Camier, who was unable to set a lap time but will be eager to make up for the lost track time in FP2 on a track that the Brit believes should prove advantageous for the well-handling chassis of the MV.

The second practice session for Round 9 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship gets underway at 13:30 local time (GMT -7) as entry into Tissot-Superpole 2 is decided.