2014 Imola World Superbike | Honda’s Rea On Provisional Pole

2014 Imola World Superbike | Honda’s Rea On Provisional Pole

Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea

2014 Imola World Superbike Friday Practice Results

The fourth round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship got underway Friday with the first two free practices at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola.

During the opening morning session, the 28-rider grid experienced the hottest conditions so far in 2014 World SBK. During FP1, Ducati Team’s Davide Giugliano was quickest, finishing 0.251 of a second ahead of Pata Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea.

But things changed drastically during an even hotter afternoon FP2 session, though it was cut short. First, there was a broken drainage cover at turn four causing a a red flag, and then a fire at an adjourning park caused another, cutting the 45-minute session 12 minutes short.

But leading the grid this time was Rea, the CBR1000RR Fireblade pilot taking the provisional pole at Imola WSBK. But it wasn’t only the Northern Irishman that was quick; the top five were separated by less than 2-tenths of a second.

“I really enjoyed being back at Imola today. The bike is clearly working quite well here but we still need to make some good improvements, especially getting the power down off the slower corners and final turning with engine brake,” Rea says.

“But for our first day we’ve got to be happy because our pace is OK. The ultimate lap time I didn’t think was very fast compared to the race or the test here last year. But the track is quite fresh and there’s not a lot of rubber down – there haven’t been any big meetings here before us. Tomorrow when the track gets a bit more rubbered-in I think you’ll see the pace starting to hot up a little bit. We’ll work hard tonight to refine the bike even more and hopefully go with that pace.”

Rea finished 0.040 of a second ahead of the reigning World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes. The Kawasaki Racing Team pilot currently has the 2014 SBK points lead with 108, 12 ahead of Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli. The Frenchman was fourth quickest in FP2, finishing 0.176 of a second behind Rea.

Finishing third quickest in FP2 was Guintoli’s teammate Marco Melandri, who was 0.114 of s second behind Rea.

FP1 leader Giugliano finished fifth quickest, 0.427 of second off the top pace. He was followed a  mere 0.018 of a second back by teammate Chaz Davies.

Rea’s teammate Leon Haslam was eighth quickest, and the final rider to post within a second of Rea. Rounding out the top 10 were Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Loris Baz, and BMW Motorrad Italia SBK’s Leon Camier, the top EVO rider.

As for the American Team Hero EBR 1190 RX pilots, Geoff May finished 26th, nearly seven seconds off the pace, and Aaron Yates last in 28th, over eight seconds slower.

The World Superbike grid will return to Imola Saturday morning for two additional Free Practice sessions ahead of Superpole; only Free Practice 3 will count towards what riders take place in the Superpole sessions.

Last season, Sykes earned the pole at Imola en route to doubling at the Italian round that’s just south of Bologna.

For a preview, visit 2014 Imola World Superbike Preview.

2014 Imola World Superbike Free Practice 2 Results:

1   Jonathan Rea 1m48.147s GBR HONDA Pata Honda
2   Tom Sykes 1m48.187s GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
3   Marco Melandri 1m48.261s ITA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team
4   Sylvain Guintoli 1m48.323s FRA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team
5   Davide Guigliano 1m48.329s ITA DUCATI Ducati Superbike Team
6   Chaz Davies 1m48.592s GBR DUCATI Ducati Superbike Team
7   Leon Haslam 1m48.999s GBR HONDA Pata Honda
8   Eugene Laverty 1m49.259s IRL SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
9   Loris Baz 1m49.600s FRA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
10   Leon Camier 1m49.610s GBR BMW BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team

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