Bautista out of the blocks fastest in Jerez

Alvaro Bautista is still the rider to beat in morning warm-up at Jerez
Bautista out of the blocks fastest in Jerez

Alvaro Bautista maintained his position at the head of the World Superbike Championship timesheets as he prepares for a Superpole Race in which he stands to gain over last-place starting Jonathan Rea.

Picking up where he left off from his dominant win in race one, Bautista was two tenths quicker than Michael van der Mark in a repeat of the 1-2 from yesterday’s encounter.

Significantly, Bautista heads into the morning’s Superpole Race in a strong position to capitalise on title rival Rea after the Kawasaki rider was demoted to the back of the grid as punishment for his collision with Alex Lowes.

Focusing on set-up, Rea was seventh best, with Lowes – who passed his medical to compete due to a shoulder injury sustained in the aforementioned incident – was up in third place. He starts on the front row alongside Bautista and Marco Melandri as a result of Rea’s penalty.

Chaz Davies was a vastly improved fourth quickest on a weekend that has seen him struggle for pace, ahead of Melandri, BMW’s Tom Sykes and Rea.

Further back, Tommy Bridewell was 15th quickest on the Goeleven Ducati, while Loris Baz failed to get out to set a time.