News 2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice: Rea Untouchable Again

2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice: Rea Untouchable Again

2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice Results

2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice: Rea Untouchable Again
2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice: Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea

Since Chang International Circuit in Thailand joined the World Superbike Championship, the track has catered to Kawasaki ZX-10R machinery. Kawasaki Racing Team rider Jonathan Rea has earned three race wins there, and his teammate Tom Sykes the fourth.

The two-time reigning World Superbike Champion Rea shows no sign of slowing down so far in 2017 SBK. The 30-year-old Northern Irishman, who doubled two weeks ago at the Phillip Island WSBK season opener, was once again the quickest rider during Friday’s free practices at the Thai circuit.

Riding in humid conditions with temps over 90 degrees, Rea finished the day with a best time of 1:33.573 aboard the all-new ZX-10RR. Finishing 0.210 of a second behind Rea was his teammate, 2013 World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes.

Speaking after 2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday practice, Rea says: “It was important to do a race simulation today which we started FP2 with and it went okay, I was able to be pretty fast at the end. There are still some areas we need to improve on the bike to make it comfortable but all in all, it’s going okay.

“Grip level is much higher than last year, and this year I can take the lines I like. I am quite surprised because we had a lot of rain and already the lap times are fast. Everything feels consistent, but it’s very hot when I’m riding. At the end of 20 laps I was very hot but all in all a good day, and I’m enjoying riding around Buriram.”

2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice: Kawasaki's Tom Sykes
2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice: Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes

Following the two Kawasaki superbikes were the Racing Ducati teammates of Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies.  Though he didn’t improve on his morning time, the Italian Melandri piloted his Panigale R to the third quickest overall time, 0.279 of a second behind Rea. Davies followed in fourth, 0.322 of a second back.

Alex Lowes continued to impress on the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team YZF-R1, finishing fourth overall, 0.443 of a second back. He was followed by Barnes Racing Ducati’s Xavi Fores and Alteha BMW’s Jordi Torres. Rounding out the top 10 were Lowes’ teammate Michael van der Mark, Althea BMW Racing Team’s Markus Reiterberger, and Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty.

2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice: Ducati's Marco Melandri
2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice: Ducati’s Marco Melandri

As for the sole American in World Superbike, Nicky Hayden continues to struggle with the all-new Honda CBR1000RR SP2; he finished 13th Friday, 1.3 seconds off the pace.

In a similar turn of events to the opening day at Round One in Phillip Island two weeks ago, Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was unable to head out in FP1 due to a mechanical problem. However the afternoon session saw the Brit continue with his frustrations, putting in 16 laps and finishing in 14th position.

The 20-rider grid returns to Chang International Circuit Saturday for Superpole and race one, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. local time.

2017 Thailand World Superbike Friday Practice Results (Overall):

Pos. Rider Time
1 Jonathan Rea 01’33.573
2 Tom Sykes 01’33.783
3 Marco Melandri 01’33.852
4 Chaz Davies 01’33.895
5 Alex Lowes 01’34.016
6 Xavi Fores 01’34.174
7 Jordi Torres 01’34.245
8 Michael van der Mark 01’34.291
9 Markus Reiterberger 01’34.410
10 Eugene Laverty 01’34.518
11 Lorenzo Savadori 01’34.554
12 Stefan Bradl 01’34.691
13 Nicky Hayden 01’34.595
14 Leon Camier 01’34.953
15 Randy Krummenacher 01’35.071
16 Riccardo Russo 01’35.465
17 Román Ramos 01’35.542
18 Alex De Angelis 01’35.817
19 Ayrton Badovini 01’36.249
20 Ondrej Jezek 01’35.568

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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