Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea rode his ZX10R to the fastest time in an extended 75 minute FP1 at the very first ever World Superbikes Thai Round Free Practice to be held at the Chang International circuit in Buriram, Thailand.
With ambient temperatures in excess of 34 degrees Celsius and rising, the 26 riders made the most of the track time available, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) the first to record a time.
At the half way point Rea was still fastest, significantly faster than his initial lap, which was to be expected, the British rider who jointly leads the overall championship standings after the first two races was 0.134s ahead of Aruba Ducati rider Chaz Davies and Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) who continues to shine on his WorldSBK season.
At the flag, despite a number of personal improving laps from a dozen riders in the final minutes, nobody was able to topple Kawasaki mounted Rea who managed to hold on to top spot after 3 personal improving laps of his own.
The British rider holds a margin of 0.751s over team mate Tom Sykes and Jordi Torres who complete the top three, going into this afternoon’s FP2.
Davies was still able to finish fourth courtesy of his time posted early in the session while Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) improved from 16th to 5th on his final lap.
Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) completed the top 6.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda WSBK Team) moved into 7th in the final four minutes ahead of David Salom (Team Pedercini) who returns to racing after his crash in Australia. The Spaniard was just ahead of ever improving Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) and reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda WSBK Team) who rounded out the top ten.
Troy Bayliss (Aruba Ducati SBK) looked quick in sector 3 eventually finishing 14th.
Jordi Torres broke the 300kmph barrier, recording 302kmph along the longest 1000m straight between turns one and two. The straight comes to an end with a tight right handed hairpin which many riders have said presents a great overtaking opportunity, along with the final corner.
Chaz Davies was the only faller in a session was very much about the riders learning their way around the 4.5km circuit, the British rider falling at the left handed turn 3 as the session entered the final 31 minutes, he was able to rejoin.