WorldSBK Donington: Rea heads KRT Superpole lockout with new lap record

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes locked out the WorldSBK Superpole standings at Donington Park on Saturday morning.

The KRT pairing held off reigning champion Toprak Razgatlioglu to head the front row with the Northern Irishman dominating the action with a new 1’26.080 all-time lap record at the UK venue.

Superbike qualifying began with a penalty for Go Eleven’s Philipp Oettl as the German faced a three place grid drop due to dangerous and irresponsible riding during FP2. The Yamaha quintet working together on track with Rea and Scott Redding doing likewise as the initial traffic was navigated. Loris Baz the first to succumb to the British track as he tried to follow the leading local riders.

Lowes set the initial benchmark on the Ninja ZX-10RR before his teammate took control at the top with a 1’26.687. Redding slotting into second, two-tenths adrift, with usual contenders Alvaro Bautista and Razgatlioglu joining the party in third and fourth.

Rea continued to move the target as the session met the halfway stage, his 1’26.657 edging ever closer to Tom Sykes’ outright circuit record as Puccetti’s Lucas Mahias claimed sixth from Honda’s Iker Lecuona. Aruba Ducati’s Michael Rinaldi, FP3 leader Garrett Gerloff and fellow Yamaha rider Andrea Locatelli completing the top 10 ahead of the final runs with wildcard rider Tarran Mackenzie just adrift in 11th.

Rea and Redding continued to circulate together as the final four minutes began. The six-time champion increasing his lead with a 1’26.230 for a new all-time lap record as the BMW rider lost out in the second half of the layout. Razgatlioglu arrived to second with two to go before Lowes bettered to back up his teammate on the front row. The local rider just a tenth behind his teammate before Rea continued to refine the pace on the bubble of 1’26.

Bautista claimed fifth from his own teammate Rinaldi with Lecuona, Gerloff and Locatelli maintaining their hold on the edge of the top ten. A late charge from Mackenzie promoted the McAMS rider to 13th ahead of the regrouped Baz and Pedercini’s Leon Haslam with FHO’s Peter Hickman qualifying in 22nd.

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