Rea ramps up the pace as Bridewell debuts

Jonathan Rea is the rider to beat heading into qualifying for round five of WorldSBK at Imola; Tommy Bridewell makes first appearance of weekend.
Rea ramps up the pace as Bridewell debuts

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Jonathan Rea continued to stamp his mark on proceedings during third and final free practice for the fifth round of the 2019 World Superbike Championship, as BSB star Tommy Bridewell turned his first laps on the Go Eleven Ducati.

The dominant force so far this weekend, title chaser Rea was once again in commanding form in FP3 aboard the Kawasaki ZX-10RR, taking a full half-second off his best time from FP2 to put 0.7s between himself and Chaz Davies, who didn’t improve.

Putting the Ulsterman in a strong position ahead of qualifying, though key title rival Alvaro Bautista did improve his time this morning, it was only a fraction better and not enough to lift him beyond his overnight fourth place behind Tom Sykes.

Elsewhere, Alex Lowes made good gains to rise to fifth quickest on the Pata Yamaha, while Marco Melandri - who was seventh best in the session itself - ascended into the overall top ten for the first time this weekend in ninth position.

Meanwhile, British Superbike Championship front-runner Bridewell was on course for the first time with Go Eleven Ducati after being called up as a late replacement for the injured Eugene Laverty.

With only the 20mins session available to him to get running on the board ahead of qualifying, Bridewell’s cause wasn’t helped when Michael Ruben Rinaldi brought out a red flag five minutes into the session as the Briton was starting his first fast lap.

Completing five laps in all, Bridewell set a creditable 1m 51.916secs time on his one quick lap during the final seconds, a creditable 2.8secs off 18thplace Hector Barbera.