The Championship leader was eighth in Free Practice 1 but responded, after making changes to his bike, to claim top spot in the combined classification
Friday practice for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship concluded with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) topping the timesheets at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” ahead of the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round. After finishing in eighth in Free Practice 1, the Spanish rider battled back to claim top spot in the second 45-minute session on Friday afternoon as he looks to win with Ducati on home soil.
Bautista posted a 1’35.372s in Free Practice 1 at Misano, a circuit he tested at with Ducati in preseason to finish in eighth place, around seven tenths down on the time set by pacesetter Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) with the reigning Champion leading a Yamaha 1-2 ahead of teammate Andrea Locatelli.
In Free Practice 2, Bautista completed two stints of 10 and 11 laps respectively, longer than any stint he completed in FP1, on his way to top spot after posting a 1’34.008s, with the time coming halfway through his second stint in FP2. He was just 0.107s clear of Razgatlioglu in both FP2 and the combined classification and 0.126s clear of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in third; the top three in the Championship making up the top three in the standings.
Discussing his Friday, Bautista said: “It was a difficult start for me this morning because, with the cooler conditions, I didn’t have a really good feeling with the bike. Basically, our target was just to get the feeling I had in the winter test here because that time the feeling was fantastic. In the morning, it didn’t feel the same. It’s true that we changed the bike a little bit compared to the test so for the afternoon we just came back to the bike at the test. Suddenly, I felt much better.”
Pirelli have brought two new development SCX tyres for the Emilia-Romagna Round as the Championship’s tyre supplier continues to search for improvements. Bautista was able to try both tyres throughout Friday and he discussed these after Friday’s action concluded as he searches for the best possible tyre strategy to take in Saturday’s Race 1.
Bautista explained: “We compared the new SCX tyres that Pirelli brought here and we found some positive things in each one but it’s a difficult to say a choice for the race because we didn’t do a lot of kilometres on the tyre and the standard SCX we know very well how it drops or not. We need more information about these two tyres but the first day has been positive.”
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