Changing wind direction halted progress for the World Superbike riders this afternoon following perfect conditions in this mornings session, which made it harder for them to push their bikes to the limit.
|A late surge put Rea on provisional pole
Photo: Pata Honda
Aprilia Racing Team’s Eugene Laverty set the early pace in the first qualifying session of the weekend at his favourite track of Portimao, setting a lap time of 1.43.945. Donington double race winner Tom Sykes put in a flying lap in the early minutes of the session, however Laverty soon responded and stayed at the top for the majority of the 45 minute session.
Team Pedercini’s Federico Sandi crashed at turn five in the opening ten minutes of the session and was unable to improve on 17th position as the session ended. Fixi Crescent Suzuki rider Jules Cluzel was the only other man to crash in this afternoons session, coming off a turn three however the Frenchman was able to rejoin the field and finished in a provisional 12th position.
With just ten minutes of the session remaining Jonathan Rea shot to the top of the timing sheets after suffering with bumps on the track, setting a time of 1.43.574. The Pata Honda rider improved on this time with a lap of 1.43.551, which is just 8 tenths of a second off Max Biaggi’s lap record.
Eugene Laverty stayed in second position behind Rea, one place ahead of Kawaski Racing Team’s Tom Sykes who sat in third position. World championship leader Sylvain Guintoli was just 0.383 seconds back of Rea in fourth, with Davide Guigliano rounding out the top five.
Injured team-mate to Rea, Leon Haslam finish the session in 13th position, 1.524 seconds off his fellow Pata Honda rider’s time. BMW Motorrad rider Marco Melandri finished in sixth position ahead of Chaz Davies in seventh and Carlos Checa 0.695 back in eighth. Fixi Crescent Suzuki rider Leon Camier finished in ninth and Loris Baz rounded out the top ten with a time of 1.44.496.