JEREZ, Spain – Temperatures soared into the 30s for Free Practice 2 at the 10th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the Jerez circuit on Friday, leaving many to think that few riders would better their times from the morning’s session. This was looking the case until the final six minutes when several fast laps completely changed the running order.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) made the biggest gains, jumping from fifth to the top of the timing sheet with a lap time of 1:42.677. The Frenchman is looking confident over a number of laps at the technical Spanish circuit and on Friday’s performance looks set to feature highly in the races on Sunday.
After topping FP1 Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) was unable to improve but with only one rider bettering the Italian’s time from this morning he remained in a solid second overall.
Behind Baz, Melandri and Baz’s teammate Tom Sykes there was other significant improvement, namely from Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), who elevated himself into contention in fourth, ahead of Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and 2013 race winner Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who completed the top six.
Chaz Davies fell from his Ducati for the second time in as many session and dropped to seventh ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), who was 10th.
In the EVO fight Team Pedercini’s Alessandro Andreozzi closed to within 1.3s of the fastest time of the day with an impressive 1.44.031, the Italian claiming a 12th place overall.
Currently the final participant in Superpole 1 is the returning from injury Imre Toth (Team Toth BMW) but with FP3 still to come Saturday morning there is still a chance for others to make it through.
It may have been an eight-week break for the World Supersport competitors – WSS did not compete at Laguna Seca – but the 26 riders contesting the Spanish round in Jerez this weekend were soon up to speed.
Fresh from winning the Suzuka 8 Hour race for the second consecutive year, champion elect Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) dominated the on track action, ending the day comfortably ahead of his rivals.
Such was the pace of the Dutchman, the second placed rider on the overall classification – Kenan Sofuoglu (San Carlo Puccetti Racing) was 0.527s behind.
Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) was third ahead of Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress), Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) and PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress), who rounded out the top six.
Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) was seventh, with Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) finishing eighth on the combined timing sheet. The Frenchman needs to score four more points than Van Der Mark to keep his title hopes for 2014 alive.
World Superbike Practice Times
1.Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1:42.677 (155.077km/h)
2. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1:42.768
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:42.813
4. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:42.881
5. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:42.896
6. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 1:42.899
7. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1:42.916
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:42.995
9. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 1:43.067
10. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:43.079
11. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 1:43.204
12. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1:44.031
13. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 1:44.343
14. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1:44.363
15. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1:44.389
16. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1:44.468
17. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta) 1:44.860
18. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1:44.919
19. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki) 1:45.133
20. Imre Toth (BMW) 1:46.087
21. Geoff May (EBR) 1:46.614
22. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW) 1:46.657
23. Luca Scassa (Kawasaki) 1:47.525
24. Aaron Yates (EBR) 1:47.617
–From the World SBK Press Office