Kawasaki Racing’s Jonathan Rea has began round three of the World Superbike Championship in sparkling form as the Northern Irish rider topped the first free practice session at the MotorLand Aragon Circuit.
It was a cold start to the morning as the riders took to the track for the opening practice session of the weekend. With track temperatures reaching only 16 degrees, many riders spent the early parts of the session familiarizing themselves with the track and adapting to the cool conditions.
Chaz Davies was the first rider to suffer problems out on track as his Ducati produced smoke near the end of turn one, forcing him to push his bike back to pit lane. Rea was the pacesetter early on setting a 1:51.182s, almost a second ahead of the field.
Rea soon improved his benchmark time to a 1:50.570s, which stood for the rest of the session and put the Kawasaki rider on top. Alex Lowes finished the session in P2, only 0.071s behind Rea, after finding some quick laps towards the end of the session. Xavi Fores rounded off an impressive session in P3, finishing only 0.158s behind the leader.
Tom Sykes, who was second for most of the practice, tumbled down to fifth as other riders improved. Michael van der Mark, Marco Melandri, Leandro Mercado and Red Bull Honda duo Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden completed the top ten.
Leon Camier was another rider who suffered technical problems with his bike throughout the session and the Brit was unable to complete a full flying lap.