As the WorldSBK action commenced on Thursday evening at the Acerbis Qatar Round, the final weekend of the 2017 season, it was Jonathan Rea who led the way with a 1’57.666 lap.
Under the floodlights at the spectacular Losail International Circuit in the Qatari desert Rea outpaced Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) who also featured in the top three.
Ahead of the final races of the year on Friday and Saturday the riders got a feel for the desert conditions in FP1 and they will all be pushing as hard as ever this weekend in order to end the year on a high.
Rea was the sharpest performer in the opening practice on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, lapping a hefty 0.689s margin ahead of his closest rival and teammate Sykes.
The Northern Irishman’s hot lap came towards the end of the hour long practice session as many of the riders improved on their times.
Davies was 0.882s down on Rea in third place, whilst a lap time 1.013s off the triple World Champion’s best effort put Alex Lowes fourth.
This weekend in Qatar Sykes and Davies will battle it out for the runners-up position in this year’s championship behind title winner Rea and both will be looking to gain any psychological advantage they can before Tissot Superpole and Race 1 on Friday.
Michael van der Mark and Eugene Laverty finished the session in fifth and sixth places respectively, whilst Laverty’s Aprilia teammate Lorenzo Savadori was seventh.
Xavi Fores, Marco Melandri and Jordi Torres completed the top ten.
Drag to the line deciding the podium at
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Savadori leads the charge towards the fi
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Sykes strikes for first pole of the seas
Savadori tops the timesheets in FP2 at P
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Lowes happy with opening days in Spain
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Sykes takes control of day two at Jerez
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Melandri: "Every rider fights with their
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Davies: "I felt we were learning as the
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Melandri on pole for Saturday showdown a
Van der Mark: "I am happy because I didn
Rea: "Our pace here is fast"
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Rea feels fired up for the challenge at
Davies aims to have another solid weeken
Lowes feeling great with the R1
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Rea: "I wanted to win the race so badly,
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Sykes: "We are lucky to be racing here"
Rea: "Whatever happens tomorrow we have
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Sykes recovering well after successful o
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Rea tops official Portimao test
Rea makes it a double at Portimao
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Davies happy to take 20 points in race o
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Rea storms to pole in Portimao sunshine
Rea: "I managed to be very consistent"
Rapid Rea leads the way on day one
Rea on top in opening Portimao session
Davies: "It always feels good to get bac
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