WorldSBK Catalunya: Mahias tops WorldSSP times after drying afternoon session

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Former WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias topped the combined timesheets after setting the pace in the morning free practice one session.

Mahias posted a time of 1’45.682s to top the timesheets on the opening day of running in Montmelo as he looks to keep his championship hopes alive across the Catalunya Round weekend.

The French rider was less than a tenth clear of Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) at the top of the standings, although Viñales did top the wet second practice session ahead of Mahias. Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was third in the standings after the two practice sessions.

Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team), who can clinch the WorldSSP World Championship title at the Catalunya Round, finished in fourth place overall for the day, with the Italian three tenths away from Mahias’ pace.

South African rider Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) finished in fifth place, matching Locatelli’s time, while Corentin Perolari (GMT94) completed the top six.

Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was seventh with Kyle Smith (GMT94 Yamaha), replacing the injured Jules Cluzel, in eighth place; Smith making his return to WorldSSP as a substitute rider.

2019 WorldSSP300 World Champion Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) was ninth in the classification with Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) completing the top ten in the James Toseland-run team; Webb surviving a trip through the gravel in the first session to post the tenth best time.

Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) was 11th fastest after the two sessions but briefly found himself leading the timesheets in Free Practice 2. He finished ahead of Kevin Manfredi (Altogoo Racing Team) with the Italian finishing the day as the highest placed WorldSSP Challenge rider. Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) was 13th with Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) in 14th and Axel Bassani (Soradis Yamaha Motoxracing) rounding out the top 15.

Miquel Pons (Dynavolt Honda) was the lead Honda rider in 16th place as he edged out teammate Patrick Hobelsberger in 17th place. Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) was in 18th place after showing impressive form in recent rounds; the Hungarian will look to return to the top ten throughout the weekend.

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