Official KRT rider Jonathan Rea put his name at the top of the Friday free practice times at Imola after two intense periods of practice in preparation for the first race on Saturday. Leon Haslam placed himself seventh on the day one timesheets at the fifth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Having led the opening morning session at Imola Jonathan Rea rode on used tyres late in the afternoon period of WorldSBK action to retake the leading position he had enjoyed for most of FP2. The next closest rider was 0.155 seconds behind Rea at the end of Friday’s track action.
Rea and his team had ultimate race performance in mind as they worked on evaluating tyre options for the first 19-lap contest of the weekend, which is due to take place at 14.00hrs on Saturday.
Haslam was fourth fastest in the morning session but went to seventh overall after evaluating a tyre that did not suit his machine set-up quite as well in FP2. He now knows which direction to head in with his pre-race options on Saturday morning, and will use FP3 to make his final race set-up.
On Saturday the KRT riders will face their final free practice session in the morning, then Tissot Superpole qualifying and finally Race One. Sunday will then feature a ten-lap Tissot Superpole Race and a final 19-lap race to complete the full WorldSBK programme at Imola.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “We tried to focus on understanding the different combinations of front and rear Pirelli tyres we have this weekend. We have some good information for tomorrow, especially looking through our split times. We still have a margin to improve in some splits where we are missing something, although we are not too far off. We will try not to compromise too much by looking for more in the other areas. At the end, I felt comfortable on the bike on used tyres and I tried hard, especially when I saw that my name was not on the top! It shows that it is there, the bike is there, and we will put everything together tomorrow. I feel comfortable with the bike making this rhythm.”
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “This morning I felt quite comfortable. This afternoon we did not have a good session because we tried a different tyre option that was not as good at the end. The lap times were not so great as a result but my feeling this morning was quite positive, so we will keep pushing overnight to be ready for tomorrow. The track is good, from what I remember of it, and there are a few areas I need to work on with my riding style. Generally, I love this circuit because it is fun to ride. Hopefully it will be good racing too.”