Round five of the 2015 World Superbike Championship officially got underway Friday with the opening two free practices at Italy’s Dino Enzo Ferrari Imola circuit.Aruba.it Racing Ducati Team’s Chaz Davies led the way in the morning session (FP1), but would fall to fourth in the second and final practice of the day. He was ousted by his teammate, the returning Davide Giugliano, and the Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea.
The Northern Irishman Rea took the top honors with a 1:47.344 at Imola. The ZX-10R Ninja pilot currently has 190 out of 200 available points after winning six of eight races in four rounds so far.Rea’s teammate Sykes – the 2013 World SBK Champion – challenged throughout the 45-minute FP2 session. He was able to briefly move into first, but made a small mistake at the final chicane. This allowed Rea to take the top time; Sykes would eventually end the day 0.173 of a second behind.Giugliano, who returns from a back injury sustained during pre-season practice at Phillip Island, finished the day third fastest aboard his 1199 Panigale R, 0.238 of a second off the top time. He was followed by Davies, who finished 0.342 of a second behind Rea, and the man who is second in the point standings, Aprilia Racing Team Red Devils’ Leon Haslam.The Aprilia RSV4 pilot finished 0.710 of a second behind, and was the final rider to post within a second of Rea.Rounding out the top 10 were Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes, who was 1.316 seconds off the pace, Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia), David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki), Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) and reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team).Substituting for Nicol Terol on the Althea Racing Ducati, Michel Fabrizio finished 12th, just behind his teammate Matteo Baiocco. Completing the top 10 were Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), and Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) who completed the top 15.All riders have one final chance to make it through into the Tissot-Superpole sessions, with the final FP3 session scheduled to run for a further 45 minutes tomorrow morning.For more, visit 2015 Imola World Superbike Preview.2015 Imola SBK Friday Practice Top Three Photo Gallery:
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!