Superbikes - Imola WSBK: Sykes tops opening free practice session

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes left it until his final lap to top the World Superbike timesheets in the first free practice session at Imola, with a 1:48.409 lap.

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Superbikes - Imola WSBK: Sykes tops opening free practice session
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Imola WSBK: Sykes tops opening free practice session

The Brit was in third but a flying last lap dash was enough to propel him to the top, over taking Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano in the process. The Italian put in a superb lap time of 1’48.481, just as the chequered flag came out making him the fastest rider out on track, until Sykes came over the line seconds later to go eight hundreds of a second quicker than Giugliano.

Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea was the quickest rider out on the circuit with five minutes left of the 45 minutes session remaining with a 1’48.673 time. The Isle of Man resident decided to make his way back to the pits, but with 45 seconds remaining decided to come back out to give it another shot, but it was not enough and the Honda man did not make it out to start another lap and in that time both Giugliano and Sykes went quicker, leaving Rea third fastest overall.

GoldBet BMW’s Marco Melandri ended the session fourth fastest, one second quicker than Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli who rounded off the top five with a 1’49.126 time.

Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam put in an impressive 1’49.262 for his final lap, meaning that the Smalley rider leapt from the bottom half of the time-sheets to an impressive seventh overall. The Brit is still recovering from a broken leg, which he sustained only two months ago.

Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier did make it as high as fourth in the time-sheets, but towards the end of the session the tall Kent lad found himself ending the morning rounding off the top ten, with a 1'49.468 lap.

Not far behind Camier was Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty who clocked the twelfth fastest time of 1’49.534, followed closely by fellow celt, GoldBet BMW’s Chaz Davies. The Welshman never made it inside the top ten quickest times and had to settle for thirteenth fastest with a time of 1’49.743.

Noriyuki Haga made a return to the World Superbike stage this morning. He is racing for the Grillini Dentalmatic team for this weekend only. The veteran racer ended the opening free practice session in seventeenth with a 1’53.236 lap.

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