In a frantic opening session, it was circuit specialist Jonathan Rea who led the way whilst it was an order to behold directly behind him
The tenth round of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is underway as the final quarter of the season begins. With windy conditions always a factor and the track conditions far from ideal on the opening morning of action, lap times were slightly slower than FP1 of 2022; the top six from the opening session were all attendees of the Aragon test, led by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Rea got down to a solid lap time straight away at a circuit where he’s been so successful at before and with P1 in FP1, the nine-time Aragon winner aims to add to the tally this weekend, having focussed his efforts during the Aragon test on the round itself. Honda had a strong session with Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) up into P2 at a circuit where the team should perform better, especially with the updated chassis being used again by the #7. After missing the opening five minutes or so, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) got out on track and instantly went top, eventually finishing third on a strong opening session, whilst Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) made it four different manufacturers inside the top four and was once again the shining light for BMW. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) completed the top five.
In sixth place and the first factory team with both riders inside the top half dozen, Team HRC’s Xavi Vierge was on form, rounding out a top six which was occupied by riders who attended the Aragon test in August, meaning that the foundations laid for them then are paying dividends. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) was P7, one place ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), whilst it was Razgatlioglu’s teammate Andrea Locatelli in P9 and Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) in P10; the German rider was second-fastest in sector four, where Ducati are at their strongest. Substitute rider Florian Marino (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took P13, whilst it was a struggle for the factory BMW riders of Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and teammate Scott Redding, placed 16th and 19th respectively.
Top six after WorldSBK FP1, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’50.309s
2. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +0.032s
3. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.342s
4. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +0.383s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.451s
6. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +0.573s
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