Jonathan Rea stamped his authority on the San Juan WorldSBK round this afternoon, topping the combined Friday timesheets while Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark missed an automatic place in Superpole two tomorrow and Chaz Davies only squeaked in with his last effort.
Rea found himself in a fight with outgoing works Ducati rider Marco Melandri in the final session while Kawasaki stable-mate Toprak Razgatlioglu claimed third place with his last lap, catapulting himself from tenth place to end three-tenths down on Rea’s 1’39.914, the fastest lap of the weekend so far.
Davies was down on pace for the whole session while the likes of Leon Camier and Lorenzo Savadori cruised into the top six but a last-ditch 1’40.741 saw him climb into seventh place to end eight-tenths behind the newly-crowned champion.
The fact that van der Mark will have to go through Superpole one will help Davies in his fight to keep hold of second place in the championship chase.
VDM’s team-mate Alex Lowes was again at the sharp end with some consistent times, ending fourth with a 1’40.255 and three-tenths behind Rea. Savadori was the leading Milwaukee Aprilia while Camier took his Red Bull Honda to sixth.
Team-mate Jake Gagne featured in the top ten early doors, climbing as high as fourth but he slipped back, unable to improve on the 1’40.993 he set but he only missed out on Superpole two by less than a tenth, which will hearten the American.
Tati Mercado continues to put on a show for his home fans, taking eighth place and one ahead of Eugene Laverty on the second Milwaukee RSV4. Xavi Fores managed to claim the final, automatic SP2 spot.
Sykes, meanwhile, had a shocker in the final session, finishing in 14th place and only a second faster than MV Agusta newboy Max Schieb while Loris Baz separated him from van der Mark.