Portimao WSBK: Rea leads Kawasaki 1-2 in Friday practice
Jonathan Rea led the way in Friday practice for the Portimao World Superbike round from Kawasaki teammate Alex Lowes, as points leader Toprak Razgatlioglu was only fifth-fastest.
Rea remained at the head of the timesheets for the majority of the day, first moving to the top with a 1m42.448s effort in the early minutes of FP1.
Yamaha's Razgatlioglu demoted him to second after posting a time of 1m41.961s, but the six-time WSBK champion snatched the top spot again with a 1m41.554s.
The Ulsterman then found more time in the final minutes of the morning session, improving fractionally to 1m41.542s to end FP1 the quickest of all.
Rea and Lowes traded the top spot in the second session later in the day, with the latter grabbing the lead at the 30-minute mark with a 1m41.657s.
But Lowes' position at the top of the order turned out to be short-lived as Rea posted the fastest time of the day after returning to track, putting two tenths between himself and his younger teammate.
The 34-year-old's time of 1m41.466s remained unbeaten in the final six minutes of the session, ensuring the Kawasaki star ended Friday practice on top for the second weekend in a row.
Lowes settled for second spot on the sister ZX-10RR, while a resurgent Garrett Gerloff was Yamaha's top rider in third on the satellite GRT bike. Going through a tough period since his crash with Yamaha stablemate Razgatlioglu at Assen, the American rider lapped the circuit in 1m41.683s to end second in FP1 and third on the overall timesheets.
Leon Haslam finished an excellent fourth on the factory Honda with a time of 1m41.716s, just days after his teammate Alvaro Bautista secured a second consecutive podium for the Japanese manufacturer at Jerez.
Championship leader Razgatlioglu ended up three tenths off the pace of his title rival Rea, having failed to improve on his morning benchmark of 1m41.749s in FP2. The two riders are separated by 20 points in the standings ahead of WSBK's final race of the season in Europe, with just the flyaway events in Argentina and Indonesia to run after Portimao.
Less than a week after impressing on his WSBK return, ex-MotoGP rider Loris Baz was a solid sixth on the Go Eleven Ducati ahead of his factory counterpart Scott Redding.
Baz is again substituting for Chaz Davies after the Welsh rider sustained two broken bones in a crash at Barcelona a fortnight ago.
The top 10 was completed by the second works Ducati of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Honda's Bautista and factory Yamaha rider Andrea Locatelli.
Michael van der Mark finished as BMW's top rider in 11th after failing to set a lap in the 1m41s bracket, with his fastest time of 1m42.424s leaving him almost a second adrift of pacesetter Rea.
Van der Mark is again joined in the BMW garage by Eugene Laverty, with Tom Sykes still recovering from a major crash in Barcelona. Laverty, who was one of the several riders to suffer a crash at Turn 8 in the morning session, finished some way off his teammate in 15th in FP2.
Elsewhere, Isaac Vinales finished 12th in both sessions with a fastest time of 1m42.776s set in the afternoon session. The Orelac Racing Kawasaki rider has elected to take part in this weekend's Portugal round despite the death of his cousin Dean Berta in last weekend's World Supersport 300 race at Jerez.
|8||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||1'42.099||0.633|
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|9||60||Michael van der Mark||BMW||1'42.345||0.803|
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