WorldSBK Misano: Bautista tops tight FP2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Aruba.it Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista concluded the opening day in Misano at the top of the WorldSBK times thanks to a 1’34.008 effort.

The Spaniard held off his regular title challengers Toprak Razgatliolgu and Jonathan Rea for Friday honours with teammate Michael Rinaldi just 0.176s adrift in fourth.

A warm and balmy afternoon brought track temperatures in the high-20’s as FP2 kicked off at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Kohta Nozane forced to sit out of the opening ten minutes after failing to follow instructions from the Marshalls during the morning practice.

Rea was immediately up to speed with a 1’34.134 on his first flying lap with Razgatlioglu in touch just a tenth back before the effort was deleted. Bautista, Rinaldi and the second KRT of Alex Lowes competed for second as the session bedded in, the championship leader taking the runners up spot half a second off the six-time champ before the Yamaha man took over once again.

Rinaldi bettered his teammate on the Panigale V4 as he ran two-hundredths shy of the reigning champion, in third, with Bautista and Lowes completing the top five with ten minutes dispatched.

Honda’s Iker Lecuona maintained his front running pace in sixth with a duo of home talent behind. Andrea Locatelli heading Axel Bassani for seventh and eighth with Philipp Oettl and Scott Redding rounding out the top ten, a second adrift of the target time.

Track limits continued to play their part as the session unfolded with multiple efforts deleted, mostly at turn one. Garret Gerloff demoting Redding with a quarter of an hour complete as Bautista struck for the lead, but coming up just 0.016 short as the mid-point approached.

Gerloff split the local riders with 20 minutes to go as the American slotted the GRT Yamaha into eighth. Locatelli the only rider so far not to have improved on his morning time with the Yamaha pair only 0.002 apart before the Texan bettered next time around to take the position.

Bautista was in charge with 12 minutes to go as the Ducati secured a 1’34.098 lap, Gabriele Ruiu crashing out at turn 14 before returning to the pits, along with the majority of the field ahead of the final runs.

The top three fired up with ten minutes to go as Razgatlioglu took charge. Bautista bettering almost immediately as the benchmark refined with 1’34.008 the new target, as the Turk lost his lap to track limits once again. Not one to be down for long, Razgatlioglu struck back next time around to secure second, Rea circulating in third with just over a tenth covering the trio and five minutes left on the clock.

Oettl made the jump to fifth as the day drew to a close, Gerloff the next to demote Lowes as the Brit found himself in seventh with Lecuona and Vierge behind before Redding split the two Honda’s for ninth.

Bautista rounded out the action in charge of the standings from the usual podium sitters. Razgatlioglu headed Rea with the second Ducati of Rinaldi completing the top four. Locatelli sat 11th at the end of the session from Motocorsa’s Bassani with Bonovo BMW’s Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty split by Christophe Ponsson in the top 15.

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