Baz storms to first place on opening day at Jerez WSBK
Temperatures soared into the 30s for Free Practice 2 leaving many to think that few riders would better their times from the morning’s session. This was looking the case until the final 6 minutes when several fast laps completely changed the running order.
After topping FP1 Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) was unable to improve but with only one rider bettering the Italian’s time from this morning he remained in a solid 2nd overall.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was the biggest improver, jumping from 5th to the top of the timing sheet with a lap time of 1.42.677. The Frenchman is looking confident over a number of laps at the technical Spanish circuit and on today’s performance looks set to feature highly in the races on Sunday.
Behind Baz, Melandri and Sykes there was other significant improvers namely Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who elevated himself into contention in 4th, ahead of Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and 2013 race winner Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who completed the top 6.
Chaz Davies fell from his Ducati for the second time in as many session and dropped to 7th ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who was 10th.
In the EVO fight Team Pedercini’s Alessandro Andreozzi closed to within 1.3s of the fastest time of the day with an impressive 1.44.031, the Italian claiming a 12th place overall.
It may have been an eight week break for the World Supersport competitors – WSS did not compete at Laguna Seca- but the 26 riders contesting the Spanish round in Jerez this weekend were soon up to speed.
Fresh from winning the Suzuka 8 Hour race for the second consecutive year, champion elect Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) dominated the on track action ending the day comfortably ahead of his rivals.
Such was the pace of the Dutchman, the second placed rider on the overall classification – Kenan Sofuoglu (San Carlo Puccetti Racing) was 0.527s behind.
Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) was 3rd ahead of Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres), Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) and PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress) who rounded out the top six.
Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) was 7th, with Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) the first of the riders to improve finishing 8th on the combined timing sheet. The Frenchman knows that he needs to score 4 more points the Van Der Mark to keep his title hopes for 2014 alive.
Roberto Rolfo (Go Eleven Kawasaki) was the only other rider in the top ten to improve in the warmer afternoon session.
Vladamir Leonov joined forces with Rivamoto, the Russian rider ending day one 18th overall on his debut with the team whilst former European Junior Cup champion Matt Davies from Australia returned to WSS competition with Aark Racing. The former full time WSS rider was classified 25th.Times: 1. Vd Mark (Honda) 1’44.344 average 152.599 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’44.871; 3. Coghlan (Yamaha) 1’44.885; 4. Marino (Kawasaki) 1’45.027; 5. Zanetti (Honda) 1’45.179; 6. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 1’45.377; 7. Kennedy (Honda) 1’45.415; 8. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 1’45.451; 9. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 1’45.488; 10. Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1’45.674; 11. Nocco (Kawasaki) 1’45.929; 12. Wilairot (Honda) 1’45.970; 13. Schmitter (Yamaha) 1’45.995; 14. De Rosa (Honda) 1’46.026; 15. Bussolotti (Honda) 1’46.223; etc.
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