Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea topped the combined Imola WorldSBK Friday timesheets after a final charge in the second free practice saw him topple old enemy Chaz Davies by 0.155s.
Davies put in a 1’46.529 - which was just down on his own lap record - right at the death of FP2 and it looked like it was enough to depose Kawasaki’s Rea.
The Irishman had other ideas, however, and Rea fought back with a 1’46.374 to nick the bragging rights with his final flying lap.
Former team-mate Tom Sykes bagged third place even after a trip across the gravel at Tamburello with his best of 1’46.766 to finish just under four-tenths off the pace.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fourth quickest in his first competitive visit to Imola, after a recent test session here.
Privateer Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was on top form, running out fifth at his team’s home round.
Sixth place went to Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) the top Yamaha rider today, while Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) was seventh. Another British rider, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team), placed eighth.
Wildcard rider Lorenzo Zanetti (Motocorsa Racing Ducati) was an excellent ninth, one place ahead of another local ridern Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Barni Racing Team Ducati).
Leon Camier (Moriwaki-Althea Honda Racing Team) was 15th and top Honda rider.