KRT rider Leon Haslam was second in the timesheets after two weather affected free practice sessions at Magny Cours, while his team-mate Jonathan Rea was seventh overall. In the fully wet FP2 session this afternoon Rea was the fastest rider and Haslam third, but both had set their best times lap times of the day in the slightly drier FP1.
In two tricky free practice sessions at Magny Cours both Haslam and Rea worked on finding their best possible wet weather set-ups and each made great progress on a track surface that started out damp and became fully wet in the afternoon.
The 4.411km long circuit at Magny Cours presents several tricky sections, particularly in the wet, but in his first race at Magny Cours since 2015 Haslam remembered both his racing lines and which parts of the track would be most challenging in the rain. His overall second place, earned in the less wet FP1 session, was followed up by being third quickest in the wetter afternoon practice session.
After experiencing an early and slow speed fall in FP1, Rea and his crew quickly got back to work in evaluating different set-up ideas and then started fine-tuning their full wet-set-up in the afternoon session.
Weather conditions are expected to improve in time for the resumption of track action on Saturday morning, and reach their warmest on Sunday. Tomorrow the KRT riders face a short FP3 session, Tissot-Superpole qualifying and then a 21-lap Race One.
Leon Haslam: “It was slippery out there but it was OK in the end. This morning you just pushed as hard as you needed to. It was one of those sessions where if someone went fast, you went out and pushed a little bit harder. I think everyone was in the same boat. It was also just trying to gather information in case it is a wet race tomorrow. This morning was not fully wet in the end but this afternoon obviously was, so it was quite important for me to understand what the bike felt like in proper rain conditions. We also got to try the new rain tyre, which is very different. I feel we have had a positive day of collecting data and finishing inside the top three in each session.”
Jonathan Rea: “Overall I am happy with the day because normally with the forecast to be clear tomorrow, and Sunday being even hotter, it is hard to be fully focused on building a set-up. We changed some things with the engine brake settings and we just needed to confirm them in the wet. This morning I was not so happy and this afternoon we worked to confirm something a bit better in the set-up. The bike is behaving a little bit different to how it has in the past in the wet, especially in how I am loading the front. If we should face any more wet weather over the weekend we need to work on stopping the bike in the last part of braking. But I was happy to be fast in full wet conditions. This morning there was a dry line coming up near the end so a lot of people went fast right at the end. It was a positive day.”