WorldSBK Magny-Cours: Lowes leads wet opening practice| WorldSBK staff | WorldSBK
Kawasaki’s Alex Lowes topped the opening WorldSBK practice session of the day, with a 1’39.107 set before the heavens opened at Magny-Cours this morning.
Second place was the top Ducati of Michael Rinaldi, just over a quarter of a second behind Lowes, and he crashed at Turn 5 in the wet conditions before the pause in action; he was the first rider back out on track.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), four-times a winner at Magny-Cours in WorldSBK, clinched third, whilst Alvaro Bautista (Aruba Ducati) was fourth. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) completed the top five but suffered a late fall at Turn 5 with three minutes to go in the wet conditions.
Sixth position went to Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), with the Italian hoping to get a strong result this weekend and put himself in contention for the factory Ducati seat. He was top Independent, ahead of German rider Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven), who was seventh.
Fresh from confirmation of his future and remaining with the project for 2023, Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was eighth and top Honda, whilst Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took top BMW honours in ninth; Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) was tenth at a track he took pole at in WorldSSP last year.
Setting a time only in the damp conditions at the end, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was 19th, but won’t be concerned. Likewise down field as they didn’t set a time, Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and BMW riders Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) and his teammate Eugene Laverty. Top Frenchman at home was Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) in 17th. Fellow countryman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 20th but had an electrical issue right at the start of the session.