Second place for Sykes ahead of Ducati pairing Giugliano and Davies.
The opening day of action at Imola’s Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari saw current WorldSBK Champonship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) leap to the top of the standings in the final moments of the second session courtesy of a 1’47.344 lap-time. Fellow KRT rider Tom Sykes was second at the chequered flag and looked on course to move into first place until an error at the ‘Variante Bassa’ during his final lap.
Giugliano dream return
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati SBK Team was close to the top once more, as Davide Giugliano made a dream return to the WorldSBK paddock by posting the third fastest time of the weekend so far, a fraction ahead of his team mate Chaz Davies, who was fourth after being quickest in this morning’s FP1.
Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) remained fifth, as he had been in the earlier morning session, the rider currently second in the overall points classification finished the first day more than half a second faster than Alex Lowes who powered his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki into sixth.
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) improved his time but remained seventh ahead of David Salom (Team Pedercini), the much faster Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) and reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who was tenth.
Michel Fabrizio (Althea Racing) finished 12th just behind team mate Matteo Baiocco but ahead of Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) - the only rider to not improve their time this afternoon - and Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) who completed the top 15.
All riders have one final chance to make it through into Tissot-Superpole, with the third free practice session scheduled to run for a further 45-minute time tomorrow morning.
Jonathan Rea #65 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Combined Free Practice 1 and 2 - 1st
“In the first session we worked on trying to feel right on the bike. The problem is that I was so comfortable here with my previous bike that I think I’m trying to turn the ZX-10R into my old machine. I’m not 100% happy with the set-up but the first day always feels strange. I’m not worrying about the others at the moment, I just want to concentrate on myself."
Tom Sykes #66 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Combined Free Practice 1 and 2 - 2nd
"So far so good. We lost some good race potential in the last two races, especially in the second half. That is what we are focusing on right now and we've had a good first day here in Imola. The fans are absolutely fantastic and it's a pleasure to be back to Italy. We are working on small details of the ZX-10R, tomorrow is another day and we have to keep working in this direction. We have a couple of things in mind to improve the package but we'll see what happens."
Davide Giugliano #34 - Aruba.it Racing - Ducati SBK
Combined Free Practice 1 and 2 - 3rd
“It was important to exorcise what happened in Phillip Island and I thought that giving a 100% was the best way to do so. I had great fun and I felt very comfortable on the bike, which is performing much better compared to winter testing. Having said that, it’s only Friday and we only did few laps, I feel quite tired and I need to rest in order to be ready for tomorrow and Sunday.”
WorldSBK Imola - Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
1 - Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team 1'47.344
2 - Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.173
3 - Davide Giugliano Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team +0.238