The opening day of WorldSBK action concluded after FP2, with action and drama aplenty in the 50-minute session. Numerous crashes were scattered throughout the session, including on Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), although he was unscathed. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was on top at the end of the day, with Rea in second and Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) in third. The Dutchman suffered an enormous accident at the end of the session, bringing a red flag out just moments after the chequered flag was shown.
Michael van der Mark was the man to beat on Friday, after a positive FP1 and topping the timesheets at the end of the day. Having won at Jerez, the former WorldSSP champion was on a mission before a huge high-side at the end of the session saw him thrown in the air, bringing out a red flag. The Dutchman suffered a right wrist fracture, concussion, and right ribs fracture and after having undergone first medical treatment at the circuit Medical Center, he was then taken to Rimini Hospital for further assessments. His teammate, Alex Lowes, completed the top five overall and was right in the mix.
The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK duo of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam suffered crashes on their way to second and tenth respectively. Haslam was the first crasher in the opening part of FP2, whilst Rea crashed at Turn 2 in the closing stages, having been top for the majority of the day. It was a positive day for Rea, as he goes in search of returning to winning ways and taking the battle to Alvaro Bautista.
Bautista’s day was comparably uneventful at Misano, with him being one of the few top names who didn’t crash – although he crashed during the Misano test. Bautista was quick in all of the sectors, topping the timesheets in the final sector but not featuring too prominently throughout the rest of the lap. Teammate Chaz Davies did not improve his time and finished the day in eighth overall.
Both GRT Yamaha WorldSBK riders were inside the top ten, as Sandro Cortese popped into fourth position on the combined times and made plenty of headlines, finishing as second Yamaha. Home-hero Marco Melandri was ninth on the combined times but didn’t improve his time in FP2.
A positive opening day concluded well for Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who will go in search of continuing his pole-run from years gone-by, with seven consecutive poles in the last seven seasons. With the 2013 WorldSBK champion in the fight at the front, he looks set for a strong weekend. Teammate Markus Reiterberger was less than a second off of top slot, but back in 13th.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) had a positive day and was the second Independent rider in seventh place. With less than half a second off, Rinaldi is in the mix at his home round and primed for a good result. Fellow countryman, teammate and wildcard Michele Pirro completed the day in 12th.
#RiminiWorldSBK at Misano World Circuit: Friday
1. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’36.021
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’36.029
3. Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) 1’36.156