Melandri edges Sykes and Rea in opening day at Portimão
Tom Sykes elevated himself to 2nd despite running off track in the final few moments of the session.
Portimão (Portugal) - The hot weather and blisteringly hot temperatures for Free Practice 2 at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve saw only a handful of riders better their lap times, leaving Aprilia Racing Team rider Marco Melandri at the top of the combined standings a fraction ahead of the improving Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who elevated himself to 2nd despite running off track in the final few moments of the session.
Behind the top two Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) were 3rd to 6th respectively.
Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) got the better of Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) for 7th, with Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) moving up several places in the final ten minutes to claim 10th and the final automatic Superpole 2 place as it stands.
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team) was once again the best classified EVO rider in 11th overall ahead of Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), Sheridan Morais (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki - EVO) and the much improved MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine of Italian Claudio Corti, who was 14th.
Luca Scassa (Team Pedercini Kawasaki - EVO) who rode in FP1 withdrew from the event, the Italian still not fully fit from his early season crash. He was replaced in the second free practice session by Riccardo Russo, who made a midday switch from the Superstock 1000cc category that he was originally supposed to ride this weekend.
At the back of the field both Team Hero EBR riders had a torrid opening day with both Aaron Yates and Geoff May currently outside of the qualification maxima.
Times: 1. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'43.880 average 159.137 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'43.927; 3. Rea (Honda) 1'43.939; 4. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'44.147; 5. Davies (Ducati) 1'44.273; 6. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'44.304; 7. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'44.374; 8. Haslam (Honda) 1'44.511; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'44.629; 10. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'44.862; 11. Barrier (BMW) 1'44.960; 12. Elias (Aprilia) 1'45.466; 13. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'45.801; 14. Corti (MV Agusta) 1'45.847; 15. Badovini (Bimota) 1'45.919; 16. Iddon (Bimota) 1'45.927; 17. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'45.930; 18. Canepa (Ducati) 1'46.025; 19. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'46.557; 20. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'46.588; 21. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'46.712; 22. Russo (Kawasaki) 1'46.718; 23. Staring (Kawasaki) 1'47.596; 24. Rizmayer (BMW) 1'48.588; 25. Sebestyen (BMW) 1'50.324; NC. Yates (EBR) 1'51.414; NC. May (EBR) 1'51.881; EX. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'49.223.
Free Practice 1
In scorching weather conditions Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) posted the fastest time in the opening Free Practice session ahead of Sunday’s 8th round of the Superbike World Championship at Portimao in Portugal.
Behind Melandri there was as ever a flurry of riders exchanging positions but at the flag it was Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) that completed the top six.
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) finished ahead of his team mate Jonathan Rea, with Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) and best classified EVO rider Sylvain Barrier completing the current top ten riders that would make it through to Superpole 2, if things remain the same.
One notable absentee from the current top ten was Italian Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) who was plagued with an electrical issue this morning, only managing 19th on the timing sheet.
Gabor Rizmayer made his BMW Team Toth debut replacing the injured Imre Toth. The Hungarian ended the session 24th overall.
Bryan Staring suffered a technical problem with his Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki, the Australian hopeful of making it back on track for FP2 which takes place later today at 1530 local time.
The challenging circuit is a favourite amongst the riders and at the end of the first 45 minute session, 9 riders were covered by a second. The times are however expected to tumble in FP2 with the morning best lap currently 2.5 seconds slower than the circuit best lap set last year by reigning champion Tom Sykes.
WSBK heads to Algarve for Round 8
Portuguese Tissot-Superpole goes to Sykes