Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes gave reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea a run for his money in the opening free practice at Misano, finishing just over a tenth behind the Kawasaki man with Marco Melandri finding some late pace to end in third.
Rea, at one of Kawasaki’s strongest tracks, was predictably top of the pile with a 1’35.128 set on his 16th lap while Lowes left it a little later to bag second with a 1’35.263.
Aruba Ducati’s Melandri was languishing outside the top 15 until the final ten minutes. He then put in a 1’35.642 – seemingly from nowhere – to go third before securing the place with a 1’35.326, fending off a charge from Leon Camier.
The Red Bull Honda was was busy in the top five for the whole session and only lost out to the Italian by 0.158 while Tom Sykes was pushing Camier hard, finishing 0.093s behind on a 1’35.577.
Chaz Davies put his Ducati in sixth late on with a 1’35.771 just ahead of Loris Baz, Xavi Fores – who has regained some pace after a slump – and Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia.
Michael van der Mark scraped into the top ten but eight-tenths off the pace and some way behind team-mate Alex Lowes. Lorenzo Savadori, Nico Canepa, Jordi Torres, Tati Mercado and Michael Rinaldi completed the top 15.