Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes chased down the factory Kawasaki pairing of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes in the final WorldSBK free practice session and was the only rider in the top four to improve on his time this afternoon.
Lowes put in a 1’37.489 to get within three-tenths of Rea’s fastest time – a 1’37.202 set this morning – with Sykes only 0.086s quicker than his countryman. Lorenzo Savadori’s time from the second session kept him in fourth place with Michael van der Mark improving to a 1’37.626 for fifth place.
A late lap from Chaz Davies saw the Welshman jump from outside the top ten to an automatic place in qualifying two but his efforts pushed brother-in-law Eugene Laverty into 11th and the Milwaukee Aprilia rider will have to go through Superpole one.
Michael Rinaldi (Aruba Ducati Junior) headed both works Ducatis. He set the same sixth-fastest time as Davies but Davies was classified as seventh overall as his next-best time was slightly slower.
In eighth place, Marco Melandri was just four 0.004s of a second behind Davies and Rinaldi. All four Ducati riders qualified together in a clump, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing) ninth. Local rider Loris Baz (Althea BMW) placed tenth and was the final automatic Superpole two qualifier.
Laverty and Red Bull Honda’s Leon Camier will be favourites to progress through Superpole one. Laverty is half a second ahead of the Andorra-based rider but they will have to fight it out with Puccetti Kawasaki’s Topratz who is three tenths further back.
Jordi Torres is having a torrid time down in 14th with Jake Gagne 15th.