Aruba Ducati’s Chaz Davies opened up the smallest of gaps over reigning WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea in the second free practice at Laguna, lapping 0.032s quicker than the time the series leader set in this morning’s session.
Davies and team-mate Alvaro Bautista were capable of matching the Irishman’s pace for the first three-quarters of the lap but were losing time from the Corkscrew to the start/finish. But Davies managed to find enough pace to set a 1’23.387 to top the table even though Rea hit back with his final efforton an 11-lap-old tyre to finish with a 1’23.419.
Bautista completed the top three, and one of the best Fridays Ducati have had this season, with his last lap of 1’23.650 while Tom Sykes held on to fourth place after suffering a late technical problem at turn six. The Huddersfield man’s S1000RR is 10km/h slower than Bautista’s Panigale (see table below).
In terms of pace, Rea is by far and away the most dangerous with 16 1’23s laps this afternoon. By contrast, Davies had only five and Bautista seven…
Leon Haslam held on to fifth place after knocking eight-tenths off his time in session two. He and Rea again played their game of follow my leader twice in the afternoon but Haslam had to give up after running on at Andretti and losing the tow.
Ten Kate’s Loris Baz was the top Yamaha home after sticking in a 1’23.925 late in his session and he was separated from the factory R1s by Toprak Razgatlioglu. The Turk also had a go at tailing Rea but it came to nought as he ended the day in seventh and could only improve by two tenths to a 1’23.943.
Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark were nailed together in eighth and ninth on almost identical lap times for the day. The Briton improved a tenth in the afternoon to finish on a 1’24.212 while Magic Mikey had to make do with his morning time to hold on to his place in the top ten. The pair are struggling in the final sector where they are losing three tenths to Davies.
Jordi Torres put the Pedercini Kawasaki in tenth place, 0.860 off the pace with GRT Yamaha teamsters Sandro Cortese and the soon to be retired Marco Melandri in 12th.
Tatti Mercado finished his day in 13th, one ahead of Eugene Laverty’s Go Eleven V4R which mustered a 1’24.939. Wildcard JD Beach finished in 15th and ahead of the returning Markus Reiterberger.
1 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4 R 261,4
2 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 259,5
3 50 E. LAVERTY Ducati Panigale V4 R 255,2
4 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 254,0
5 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 253,4
6 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 253,4
7 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 252,8
8 66 T. SYKES BMW S1000 RR 251,0
9 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 251,0
10 33 M. MELANDRI Yamaha YZF R1 249,2