Last gasp Rea snatches FP2 lead from Davies

Jonathan Rea leaves it late but it is the Ulsterman that leads the way after WorldSBK free practice at Imola.
Last gasp Rea snatches FP2 lead from Davies

Click here for WorldSBK Imola - Free practice results (2)

Jonathan Rea completed a sweep of top times for Kawasaki Racing with a rapid final effort in second free practice for round five of the 2019 World Superbike Championship at Imola.

A comfortable 0.3s quicker than the opposition in FP1, Rea looked to have been unseated from the top spot in FP2 despite going quicker than his own benchmark when Chaz Davies sneaked in front with a late 1min 46.529secs.

Not to be outdone though, Rea left his best until very last, stopping the clock at the chequered flag with a 1m 46.374secs to give the four-time WorldSBK champion the psychological advantage at Ducati’s home round.

Indeed, runaway championship leader Alvaro Bautista on the Ducati Panigale V4 R endured a somewhat fraught day as he adapted to the Imola track, repeatedly coming unstuck under braking for the final corner chicane.

Nonetheless, he still trimmed 0.2s off his best time to end the day fourth quickest, behind Tom Sykes, who put the factory BMW into the top three as the nimble if underpowered S1000RR continued to show its strengths over a single lap.

Arguably the most impressive improver between FP1 and FP2, Toprak Razgatlioglu was fifth fastest after taking a massive 1.2secs off his best time riding the ELF-liveried Puccetti Kawasaki. It was enough to put him three tenths ahead of Leon Haslam on the factory ZX-10RR.

Michael van der Mark fronted the Pata Yamaha challenge in sixth position, with Alex Lowes in eighth, the factory pair faring better than the GRT Yamahas of Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese. The only riders not to improve between sessions en route to 12thand 14threspectively, Cortese missed much of the session after slipping off at turn six..

Wild-card Lorenzo Zanetti was an eye-catching ninth best, with fellow privateer Panigale V4 R rider Michale Ruben Rinaldi making it four Ducatis inside the top ten.

Leon Camier once more headed up the Moriwaki Althea Honda challenge, albeit in a lowly 15thplace, while ex-MotoGP Hector Barbera was 17thbest.

Eugene Laverty and Go Eleven Ducati will take no further part in the WorldSBK Imola weekend after the Irishman fractured his wrists in an accident during FP1.