Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) relied on his opening session time of 1’57.666 to secure the fastest qualifying time of the first evening of action at Losail in Qatar, the final round of the WorldSBK championship.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) displaced Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) for second late in the session, going 0.259 seconds from the number one plate holder after Sykes’ machine had a technical problems that put smoke out from behind his machine and brought out the red flags. The session was halted and restarted after the clean-up operation.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fourth fastest, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) fifth quickest.
Top 2017 privateer Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) slotted into sixth place, ahead of the full factory bike of Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) went eighth, with team-mates Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) completing the top ten.
Sylvain Guintoli (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 11th, Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 12th and stand-in rider from the USA, Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), 17th.
Superpole begins on Friday evening at 18.30 local time.
By Gordon Ritchie