WSBK: Lowes snatches first place from Rea on opening practice day in Thailand
Fri 20th March 2015-After the second Free Practice session – held in temperatures nudging 39 degrees Celsius – the man at the head of the combined WorldSBK timesheets on the opening day of on-track action at the Chang International Circuit was Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki). The 24-year-old Englishman was the first rider to break the 1’35 barrier to record a 1’34.685s lap time with four minutes to go this afternoon.
As he was edged out of first place after dominating the morning session, long-time leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) tried hard to retake the top spot, closing to within 0.066s of his fellow Briton with his final lap, the pair comfortably ahead of the chasing pack.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team), Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike) rounded out a top six that saw five manufacturers represented and separated by less than a second.
The remaining top-ten riders in the overall standings were Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team), Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati), Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki).
The reigning and former FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup winner Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia) were locked together in 11th and 14th respectively after two encouraging sessions. The pair were split by Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda WSBK Team) and Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) with former 125cc GP World Champion Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati) in 15th place.
After suffering a technical problem with both machines in FP1, Niccolo Canepa and Larry Pegram (Team Hero EBR) were able to take part in the afternoon timed period, completing the opening day in 18th and 23rd.
The final Free Practice session that will decide the Tissot-Superpole qualifiers is scheduled to take place at 9.45am local time.