WorldSBK Indonesia: Razgatlioglu sets early Friday pace

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Reigning WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu led the way as practice fired up at Indonesia’s Mandalika Circuit on Friday morning.

Honda’s Iker Lecuona was the closest challenger to the Pata Yamaha, less than two tenths adrift of the 1’36.938 target with championship leader Alvaro Bautista held a second back from his title rival in third.

Friday morning found a tentative start to practice with the newly resurfaced and vey green track taking its time to bed in. Initial times fluctuated around the 1’41 mark before Razgatlioglu increased the pace on the R1 into the mid 1’37’s after 15 minutes of action. Aruba.it Ducati’s Michael Rinaldi sat second until his teammate Alvaro Bautista bettered. The Spaniard preparing for his first shot to claim the 2022 title this weekend.

Kawasaki looked in no hurry to experience the opening conditions, Jonathan Rea biding his time before joining the top four with his fourth effort as the halfway stage approached. Teammate Alex Lowes opting for a similar strategy as he rose to seventh next time around.

Yamaha’s Andrea Locatelli claimed fifth at the mid-point of the session, almost two seconds shy of teammate Razgatlioglu, as the defending champion pushed the pace with a 1’36.938. GoEleven’s Philipp Oettl battled fellow Ducati of Axel Bassani for sixth and seventh before Lowes leapfrogged them both, Lecuona and Puccetti Kawasaki’s Lucas Mahias rounded out the top ten.

MIE Honda’s Hafizh Syahrin was challenging the Frenchman for position in the closing stages before Mahias hit back. The factory Honda of Xavi Vierge doing likewise on countryman Bautista for second and third with Locatelli and Lecuona completing the top five with two minutes to go.

Pedercini wildcard Kyle Smith split fellow British Rea and Lowes for eighth as the clock counted down, Redding doing likewise on Lowes for tenth before he too improved again to demote the satellite Kawasaki next time around.

Razgatlioglu maintained control of the times as the chequered flag dropped with his earlier 1’36.9 effort. Late moves from Lecuona and BMW’s Michael van der Mark securing second and fourth respectively while Vierge completing the fastest five. Locatelli and Rinaldi headed the British quartet in the mid pack from Mahias, Oettl, Bassani and Syahrin.

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