Marco Melandri was quickest in both Friday's practice sessions at Portimao. Marco Melandri was quickest in both Friday's practice sessions at Portimao. Photo courtesy WSBK Press Office

Melandri leads opening day in Portugal

Written by  on Friday, 04 July 2014 14:31

PORTIMAO, Portugal - Hot temperatures for Free Practice 2 at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve saw only a handful of riders better their lap times on the opening day of action at round eight of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, 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 second 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 third to sixth respectively.

Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) got the better of Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) for seventh, with Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) moving up several places in the final 10 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.

After two scorching 45-minute sessions, former champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India) heads into Saturday’s World Supersport FP3 and sole qualifying session at the top of the combined standings despite a late surge from the current championship leader Michael vd Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team).

With only the Dutchman improving Friday afternoon from the top six riders after FP1, the times from the earlier session, which was held in slightly cooler conditions set the benchmark.

Sofuoglu therefore leads his young rival by 0.039s with Misano winner Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) a close third.

Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) impressed in fourth ahead of Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) and the second Pata Honda of Lorenzo Zanetti, who rounded out the top six.

World Superbike Practice Times

1.Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1:43.880 (159.137km/h)

2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:43.927

3. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:43.939

4. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 1:44.147

5. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1:44.273

6. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:44.304

7. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 1:44.374

8. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:44.511

9. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1:44.629

10. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:44.862

11. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 1:44.960

12. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 1:45.466

13. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1:45.801

14. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta) 1:45.847

15. Ayrton Badovini (Bimota) 1:45.919

16. Christian Iddon (Bimota) 1:45.927

17. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1:45.930

18. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1:46.025

19. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 1:46.557

20. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1:46.588

21. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1:46.712

22. Riccardo Russo (Kawasaki) 1:46.718

23. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki) 1:47.596

24. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW) 1:48.588

25. Peter Sebestyen (BMW) 1:50.324

NC. Aaron Yates (EBR) 1:51.414

NC. Geoff May (EBR) 1:51.881

--From the World SBK Press Office

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Last modified on Friday, 04 July 2014 15:59

John Hopkins

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