With Nicky Hayden’s tragic passing on everyone’s mind, the Red Bull Honda World Superbike team paid tribute at round six of 2017 World Superbike. Nicky Hayden’s #69 CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 was on full display with America’s lost racer’s Arai lid on the fuel tank.In the spirit of Nicky, Friday’s two 45-practice sessions went on. Topping the time sheets in both practice sessions, which were held under unseasonably warm UK weather. was two-time reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea on the ZX-10RR Ninja.
Rea posted a quickest time of 1:27.740 in the second practice. This lap time, just off the lap record, was a mere 0.122 of a second quicker than Rea’s teammate, 2013 SBK Champion Tom Sykes, who also finished second in the morning session.Claiming third for three Kawasakis in the lead Friday was Puccetti Racing Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam, the Brit finishing 0.399 of a second behind Rea.Rea enters round six after winning seven of 10 races held so far this season. He has 235 points, 84 ahead of the man who won the other three races: Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies.“This afternoon we set off with the intention of doing a long run,” Jonathan Rea says. “We did a race simulation which as OK and we have a lot of good information now for the first race tomorrow. I think we will put our heads together tonight and try to improve in some areas. In the first sector I feel really consistent, in the last sector I feel quite good on the brakes if I needed to make passes and even in the chicane, which was quite a tough area for me last year, this is the best have felt. It is just sector two where I need to improve a little bit.”Finishing fourth was Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Marco Melandri, the only non-British rider in the top six. Fifth went to Davies, and sixth to Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes.Rounding out the top 10 were Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing Aprilia).As for crashes in the second free practice were the bulk of top rider times were posted, Mercardo and Lowes both hit the gravel, Mercardo at turn 11 and Lowes at turn 8. Also crashing wihtout injury were Riccardo Russo (Guandalini Racing Yamaha), Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team).In the opening practice, Rea crashed out before going quickest, as did van der Mark and Alex De Angelis (Pedercini Kawasaki)The riders return to Donington Park Saturday for qualifying, which takes place at 11 a.m. local time, and race one at 3 p.m. local time.
2017 Donington World Superbike Friday Practice Results:
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.