MV Agusta’s Jordi Torres was the only rider to put up any kind of resistance to reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea’s domination of the opening free practice session at Portimao this morning.
Both Torres and Rea were underneath Tom Sykes’ existing lap record - a 1’42.475 set last year - and until Rea’s final push, the Spaniard was only three tenths in arrears.
Rea set a 1.42.069 on his seventh lap to lead but Torres was chasing hard with a 1’42.333. However, Rea came out for a last run and scorched to a 1’41.817 to lead by half a second while team-mate Sykes - who didn’t test here in August as he was injured - finished in third and eight-tenths off the lead after a lengthy second run.
Barni Ducati’s Xavi Fores hopped into fourth with his final lap, setting a 1’42.752 and that pushed Michael van der Mark’s Pata Yamaha down to fifth. The Dutchman is the business end of a second off the pace and only 0.008s on Eugene Laverty.
The Milwauee Aprilia rider, who still hasn’t secured a seat for next season, held second in the early part of the session with a 1’42.778 but couldn’t up the pace so slipped back to sixth place, one ahead of Marco Melandri.
Alex Lowes took the second Pata Yamaha to eighth with Leon Camier and Red Bull Honda team-mate Jake Gagne - cleary benefitting from three days of testing in Portugal - completing the top ten.
Topratz finished in 11th place with Loris Baz in 12th. Chaz Davies - also on the sick list - was 13th and although on the pace in the first two sectors, he couldn’t make any progress into the top ten. Lorenzo Savadori and Michael Rinaldi rounded out the top 15.