WSB Imola: Rea on top after early end to Friday's action
A broken drain cover on the exit of the Tamburello chicane brought the second Superbike session of the opening day at Imola to a close with 12 minutes left on the clock. British riders were in the ascendancy before the premature end to of a much-delayed session, with Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) first and second respectively, ahead of the Aprilia Racing duo of Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli.
The second WSB session had started late in any case due to a problem with the same drain cover that eventually finished the day off, then the session was red flagged for a period after a fire outside the circuit blew thick smoke across the track, before a final fault with the drain cover ended the entire day’s action in bizarre fashion.
Davide Giugliano (Ducati World Superbike) had been fastest in the morning session but ran out fifth in combined first day times, as his team-mate Chaz Davies also put in a good display at Ducati’s home event, with a sixth place time that edged out many more powerful machines.
A bumper day for British riders continued with Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) in seventh place and Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) eighth. Loris Baz had a difficult qualifying by his recent high standards in ninth place on his factory Kawasaki.
Top of the Evo riders was yet another strong British competitor, Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike), inside the top ten in convincing form and one place ahead of Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who was 11th. Non-points scoring rider Christian Iddon (Alstare Bimota) placed himself 17th on Friday, with one day of practice and then Superpole to go on Saturday, before two 19-lap races which are scheduled for Sunday.