Setting a best time of 1’32.468s, Michael Ruben Rinaldi topped Friday’s timesheets, finishing ahead of teammate Alvaro Bautista.
P1 | Michael Ruben Rinaldi | Aruba.it Racing Team | 1’32.468s
“Today has been a positive day despite the crash after a few laps in FP1. I immediately felt good on the bike. It’s a strange track here because every session and every lap, the surface changes. There are not many motorcycle races here so there’s no rubber on the asphalt and outside the racing line is dirty, so you can’t make a mistake. From FP1 to FP2, we improved a lot the times and the feeling with the bike changed. I’m happy to be first but the conditions changed quickly, and I think it doesn’t really matter if we are first today. Tomorrow, we will come back to the track and maybe it’s a different story. We need to be calm, humble and try to do our best job.
For sure, it has been a positive Friday, but you cannot think Toprak or Jonny will not be there. They will be there for sure. During the winter tests, I think our team did a great job and our base is solid. The track changed a lot from FP1 to FP2 and tomorrow will be different. Maybe with more grip, we don’t know whether our bike is working better or not.”
It was a strong start for Ducati and particularly Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who, having topped FP1 despite a Turn 10 crash, repeated the achievement in FP2 although this time, without a tumble. Rinaldi continued his strong showing from Phillip Island and with a Friday clean-sweep and a Ducati 1-2 but in reverse order to Australia, the Bologna bullets may be the ones to beat. Reigning World Champion Bautista set strong lap times throughout the course of the session, despite suffering a Turn 1 crash. After a brief stint in the box, Bautista went back out on track and improved his time, although not enough to overthrow his teammate.
Doing a 16-lap run but returning to the box and stating that he was struggling to turn into the left-hand corners, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) went for a time attack in the closing stages of the session and placed third. Back in the mix after a Sunday to forget in Australia, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) kept his powder dry on day one, opting not to go out in FP1 until the final 17 minutes as the track cleaned up and rubbered in. Rea was in the mix throughout the session and was right behind the Ducatis for most of it, on his way to P4 overall.
It was a late burst up the order for Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), with the Dutchman just less than three quarters of a second away from Rinaldi’s top time. The #60 was only 0.010s behind Rea directly ahead of him in fourth, as he showcased the BMW M 1000 RR’s potential at Mandalika, a circuit where it’s been on the podium – back in 2021 in the wet with van der Mark.
WorldSBK action resumes on Saturday with FP3 from 08:30 (Local Time), followed by Tissot Superpole at 10:40 and Race 1 at 13:30.
1. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’32.468s
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.030s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.157s
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.735s
5. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.745s
6. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.906s