Only a fast final lap from Michael van Der Mark deposed Jonathan Rea from the top spot on Friday’s combined practice times. Jonathan’s 1’36.029 was just 0.008 seconds from the overnight leader as he made good preparations for Superpole and then the first race of the weekend.
Haslam worked on finding more front end grip and despite losing some track time for a while after a fall, he was still inside the top ten at the relatively short 4.226km circuit near the Adriatic coast of Italy.
On a day where several riders fell Rea and Haslam each slid off without injury on a hot and sometimes slippery track surface that approached 50°C on occasion. Such was the close competition on day one that the top 13 riders set lap times within a second of each other.
Tomorrow Rea and Haslam will face a final FP3 session in the morning, then Tissot Superpole qualifying and finally a full distance 21-lap Race One. Sunday features a ten-lap Tissot Superpole Race and a final 21-lap battle in Race Two.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is much hotter than it was at the test we had here recently. There was not a lot of rubber down at the test but even today the grip levels are lower. But saying that, it feels more normal especially compared to Jerez last time out, where the grip levels were so high you were pushing the tyres into the ground. The bike is moving around a little here and we are just trying to understand where we are with it. I felt we had a really good pace and my speed was good today, and we understood some different tyres. It is now clear the tyre we are going to use. For the first day I feel not bad; actually comfortable on the bike.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “We ran out of track time today because a crash hindered us in something we wanted to try. We have been suffering from a little lack of front grip more than anything. We still have to work because compared to the test we had here recently the track is a bit greasier, a bit more slippery. It is totally different from the test until now. We had a certain way and feeling at the test and it is now a completely different way that we need to look for.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was 12th today, just one place behind Haslam. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 14th and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 18th in what is his second comeback ride after an early season injury.
2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 16, Wins 2, Podiums 14, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 73 (58 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 148 (106 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 18 (14 for Kawasaki)
2019: Races: 16, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 41 (3 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 129 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 398 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 83 – second overall