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Jerez WSBK: Elias edges Laverty to top first free practice

Elias knows the circuit from his MotoGP days
Elias knows the circuit from his MotoGP days

Image by GeeBee Images

Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty was on course to snatch a provisional pole position in the first World Superbike free practice outing in Jerez today, but Red Devils rider Toni Elias just pipped him to the post, and with two minutes remaining stormed to the top of the timesheets with a 1’41.573, and was the only rider to lap inside the 1’41 bracket.

Irish rider, Laverty did dominate most of the session, till the final five minutes, when he was toppled by his own team-mate, Sylvain Guintoli. But a minute later Laverty reclaimed his place as the fastest rider on track with his best lap of 1’42.077, only for Elias to go one better. The two Aprilia riders are familiar with the circuit, as they use it for testing, and former MotoGP contender, Elias has raced on this track many times before, and were easily able to out pace the rest of the grid.

Superbikes has not been to Jerez for over twenty years, and many riders do not have the track knowledge compared to the leading trio, but GoldBet BMW’s Marco Melandri was not far off the pace and was only five one-hundredths of a second behind Frenchman Guintoli, followed by fellow Roman, Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano, who rounded off the top five.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes could not scrap into the top three quickest times, and had to settle for sixth. The championship leader was two seconds off the time set by Elias, and Huddersfield’s finest ended the session with a 1’43.020.

GoldBet BMW’s Chaz Davies managed a 1’43.503, which placed him in eighth on the timesheets, and was nearly a second off the time clocked by his team-mate. Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam narrowly missed out on a top ten time, and finished the morning in eleventh with a 1’44.135.

Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier made a return to the paddock this morning. The tall Kent lad broke his foot at the round in Istanbul, but did complete a total of fourteen laps and ended the first free practice in nineteenth with a 1’45.022 lap.

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