Sykes and Rea Come Close But Melandri Leads Day One
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) made a strong push in second practice session on Friday at Portimao but Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing) edged them out thanks to his first session time set earlier in the day.
Melandri was only 0.047 seconds up on Sykes and 0.059 seconds up on Rea as the British duo made progress in the afternoon, as did all four of the riders immediately behind Melandri.
Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) rode on despite his recent foot injury to record fourth best time, 0.267 seconds back from the early lead, with Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) in fifth place on a good day for the British riders in Portugal.
Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) held off Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) to take sixth, and like his team-mate Melandri he had to rely on his morning time to do so.
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) completed the top eight riders but a disappointing afternoon for top championship challenger Loris Baz (KRT) saw him use his morning time for ninth, one rank up on Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team).
Top Evo rider, in 11th place overall, was Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Evo) leaving Christian Iddon (Alstare Bimota BB3 Evo) 16th. At the intense and undulating Portimao circuit Barrier was only 1.08 seconds behind the full factory Aprilia of Melandri.
One more free session that counts towards qualifying takes place on Saturday morning, then a free session for all, and then a two-part Superpole as usual in 2014.