Throwing up all sorts of surprises for the opening day of the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round, it was Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) who ended the day at the top of the timing sheets whilst Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) made it a red bike lock out at the front. Morning sessions welcomed glorious sunshine and hot track temperatures, before the heavens opened and the rain fell in FP3, with most riders choosing to sit out of the final session of the day.
But Savadori will not be too displeased, leading a surprising Aprilia one two at the end of Friday. The Italian recorded one of his best results in 2017 at Misano, ending Race 2 in sixth, but judging by his FP2 pace the rider from Ravenna will hope to rank higher this year in front of his home fans.
He will also be encouraged by his teammate’s pace since Laguna Seca, showing the great improvements Milwaukee have made to the RSV4-RF. Laverty finished the day in second, and after ending a four year long run without a podium at the GEICO US Round, the Irishman could be in contention again at Misano.
Championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) ends Friday in third position, ahead of his closest title rivals. The Northern Irishman was just one thousandths of a second from Laverty, and after dominating most of Friday should be pleased going into the weekend, even considering the lack of track time.
Loriz Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) finishes the day close behind Rea in fourth, with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in fifth, and Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) rounding out the top six. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the second best home rider at Misano in seventh, and will be hoping to repeat his 2017 Race 2 win tomorrow.
With Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) in eighth, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) ninth, and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) completing the Tissot Superpole 2 positions in tenth, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) were the biggest losers from the FP3 downpour. Rinaldi, on his return to WorldSBK after sitting out the Laguna Seca round, was just 45 thousandths of a second away from qualifying through to the Superpole 2, while van der Mark in twelfth will also have to fight through SP1 tomorrow.
Only Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) tried out the damp Misano track in FP3, with both men over twenty seconds slower than their previous best times.
Could we see a seventh name added to the list of race winners in 2018? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s joining us tomorrow for the Superpoles 1 & 2, starting at 10:30 local time (08:30).
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