Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) bounced back from the relative depression of Assen to an impressive fastest time in the Friday qualifying session at Monza.
It was called a wet session but Melandri’s time of 1’42.883 was under the previous race lap record, if not quite at Cal Crutchlow's SBK track best. Melandri was 0.274 seconds ahead of a rejuvenated Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) who had clearly made good use of his testing sessions at Assen after the previous round in late April.
Third fastest was championship leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing) with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) fourth in the Friday rankings. His Kawasaki made it four different makes in the top four places, but behind him it was a run of three Aprilias in a row, starting with privateers David Giugliano (Althea) and Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) and then ending up with Eugene Laverty’s RSV4 Factory works bike in seventh.
Loris Baz slotted in eighth on his official Kawasaki, with Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel rounding out the top ten on their Fixi Crescent Suzukis.
Chaz Davies would have been higher up the rankings than 13th after the first qualifying period, but for the second weekend in succession he had a crash big enough that his BMW’s chassis was wrecked after it rolled end–over-end across a chicane at turn eight.
One more qualifying session, then Superpole, remains for the top riders on Saturday.