World Champion leads both sessions on Friday in UK, with Sykes and wildcard Haslam also on the pace
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) enjoyed a positive day on Friday despite an uncharacteristic crash at the beginning of FP1, going on to top the timesheets in both practice sessions on the first day of the PATA UK Round.
Rea’s 1’27.740 time in FP2 made him the fastest rider of the day at Donington, with his teammate Tom Sykes second quickest – the Yorkshireman lapping +0.122s behind his Northern Irish colleague on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Also making a good start to the weekend on his return to WorldSBK as a wildcard was Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who lapped third fastest overall, at a circuit he knows so well.
In fourth place Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the only non-British rider in a top six which also featured Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team).
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) was seventh best, just ahead of eighth placed Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia). Completing the top ten and therefore going straight through to Tissot Superpole 2 on Saturday were Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing).
Approaching the half way point in the session Lowes and Mercado crashed in quick succession, Lowes losing the front at turn 11 and Mercado heading into the gravel and down at turn 8. There were also spills for Riccardo Russo (Guandalini Racing), Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) as the riders pushed to the limits.
Earlier in the day Rea led the way in FP1 with a 1’27.828 lap, after a crash earlier in the session. He was accompanied in the top three by his teammate Sykes and Ducati man Melandri.
Rea crashed in the opening minutes of the first practice of the weekend but was unharmed and went on to lap quicker than any of his rivals, with Van der Mark and De Angelis also crashing in the session.
Saturday at the PATA UK Round will see the SP1 take place at 11am local time, SP2 at 11.25pm and Race 1 at 3pm.