FRIDAY SBK QUALIFYING: Rea, Laverty and Sykes Head Up Day One

Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda) once more proved that Portimao is one of his favourite circuits as he led the first qualifying session at the intense 4.592km track on the Algarve, heading off Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) by 0.052 seconds.

Regular session leading rider Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was third today, although only 0.097 seconds behind Rea.

The top three had a small advantage over the rest of the top riders as championship leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing) was fourth but 0.383 seconds behind Rea. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) was the leading privateer in fifth place in dry but windy conditions, with BMW Motorrad GoldBet duo Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies just behind, sixth and seventh respectively.

Carlos Checa (Ducati Alstare) posted a relatively strong eighth on his Panigale, still carrying an injury to his shoulder, while Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) went ninth, 0.727 seconds from the best time so far.

Pata Honda rider Leon Haslam set 13th fastest time, 1.5 seconds off the top early pace, as he continues his recovery from his left lower leg break.

Final qualifying and then Superpole will take place on Saturday 8th June.

Gordon Ritchie

By Gordon Ritchie