The first day of action at the Motul Italian Round saw Chaz Davies conclude FP2 as the fastest rider on track, with a superb 1’46.229 lap for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider putting him ahead of his rivals on the timesheet, as Kawasaki Racing Team pair Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes also registered top three times.
Nobody could match double 2016 Imola race winner Davies, who was a significant 0.465s margin quicker than Rea and almost ninth tenths ahead of Sykes. Earlier in the day Rea was the pace setter in FP1 with a 1’47.023 best effort.
The top five on the timesheet also featured home rider Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Spaniard Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team). Ducati-equipped Fores had two similar crashes on Friday, one in FP1 and the second in the afternoon session, tucking the front end at turn 2.
Also making it straight through to Tissot Superpole 2 on Saturday courtesy of top ten times were Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) and Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia).
Early in the FP2 session the red flag came out after a crash for Laverty left debris on track, but the action was soon back underway. Laverty was not hindered significantly by the crash and ended the day in tenth.
Just missing out on automatic SP2 entry in 11th and 12th places respectively were Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) and Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) – the American having crashed at the end FP1 earlier in the day.
Several riders saw lap times cancelled due to off track excursions at the Variante Bassa chicane and that is something they will have to keep an eye on during this weekend’s races which take place at 1pm local time on Saturday and Sunday.
#ItalianWorldSBK Fastest on Friday:
1. Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing – Ducati 1.46.229
2. Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team +0.465
3. Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.896