Portimao WorldSBK: Rea edges crocked Bautista in opening practice

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Reigning WorldSBK champ Jonathan Rea edged injured Alvaro Bautista for top spot in the opening free practice at Portimao with the top six riders inside the existing lap record.

Rea put in a 1’41.931 to seal top spot and go four-tenths under the race record while Ducati’s Bautista, who was meant to be lapping sparingly today to rest his injured shoulder, was only 0.078s in arrears on his 13th of 14 laps.

Yamaha’s Alex Lowes ended in third despite having a couple of big moments on the works YZF-R1 and is a little over a tenth off the pace while Toprak Razgatliogu survived a near-highside on his penultimate lap to claim fourth place with a 1’41.114.

Michael van der Mark hopped into fifth place with his last lap, setting a 1’42.277 to end 0.346s in arrears with Leon Haslam, on the second works Kawasaki, in sixth with a 1’42.288.

Markus Reiterberger improved late on to claim seventh place with Loris Baz, fresh from his World Endurance test, in eighth and 0.644s off the pace.

Sandro Cortese ended in ninth place with Michael Rinaldi completing the top ten on the Barni Ducati.

Chaz Davies finished down in 11th with Tom Sykes walking away from a front-end crash at turn 14 to finish in 12th. Eugene Laverty was 14th behind Marco Melandri and Tati Mercado completed the top 15.

Sylvain Barrier and the Brixx Ducati team have abandoned BSB and joined the WorldSBK fray, finishing second to last.

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