Britain’s Scott Redding topped the second WorldSBK free practice session at Phillip Island by half a second from Toprak Razgatlioglu showing he has pace in both wet and dry conditions at the WorldSBK season opener.
The afternoon practice was a disrupted by a red flag ten minutes in for debris on the track, but Redding was one of several riders who set a flurry of fast laps at the end of the 50-minute session with a best of 1’30.436.
Turkish rider Razgatlioglu held off team-mate Michael van der Mark who finished third in the session. Razgatlioglu and van der Mark were leading the charge at the Aruba Ducati man but he was able to resist, slamming in a strong lap time to put a healthy margin between his rivals.
Leon Haslam (Team HRC) had been top of the session until the final flurry of laps but finished fourth on his Honda. While Haslam was in P1, he faced competition from Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha).
Baz was consistently setting fast laps and lapped within 0.037s of Haslam but was unable to usurp the British rider.
The Frenchman finished the session in fifth place ahead of five-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in sixth place and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in seventh. Rea’s Kawasaki teammate, Alex Lowes, finished just outside the top ten in 11th place.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) started off the session in the lower half of the field but improved his pace throughout the session and finished in eighth place. Bautista’s run throughout the session included a slide through Stoner Corner, the third corner on the circuit. The 35-year-old Spaniard seems to have found a breakthrough following the Official Test and will be one to watch throughout the rest of the weekend.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) finished in ninth despite a mechanical issue at the start of the session which meant he returned to the pits minutes after joining the track. He was able to re-join the action around halfway through the session and kept improving his lap time to eventually finish in ninth place ahead of Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who rounded out the top ten in the second practice session on his return to the Championship.
German rider Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) finished the session in 12th place, the last rider to finish within one second of pace setting Redding. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) finished the session in 13th place ahead of Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and American rider Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team); Gerloff particularly impressing on his first time at the track in a race weekend.
Gerloff’s teammate Federico Caricasulo finished the session in 16th place, a tenth of a second behind his teammate, and 0.024s ahead of Chilean rider Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura). Leon Camier (Barni Racing Team) and Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing Althea Honda Team) rounded out the field in 18th and 19th respectively.