As the WorldSBK riders commenced their work at the Pirelli French Round early on Friday it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who set the pace in FP1, lapping the 4.411km Magny-Cours circuit with a 1’37.849 time.
Registering a pace under the race lap record set by teammate Tom Sykes last year Rea showed he means business again this weekend as he headed the timesheet from Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia). On this occasion Sykes ended the session in tenth place as he returns to action after injuring a finger in Portugal at the last round.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) made it four different manufacturers in the top four, whilst his teammate Chaz Davies lapped fifth quickest.
Also in the top ten in the opening session of the #FrenchWorldSBK round were Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) and the aforementioned Sykes.
After 15 minutes of the FP1 session Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) crashed at turn 6, losing the front end going into the right hander ahead of the Nürburgring chicane. He walked away unharmed and was able to return to the track to complete 18 laps in total, ending up 14th fastest.
The WorldSBK riders will be back on track later this afternoon at the Pirelli French Round at 2.30pm local time for FP2.