Bautista takes fight to Rea in Portimao WorldSBK practice

Alvaro Bautista on the Ducati goes quickest in Portimao WorldSBK FP2 but it is Kawasaki's Jonathan Rea that ends Friday as the man to beat in Portugal

Alvaro Bautista - Ducati

WorldSBK Portimao FP2 Results 

Alvaro Bautista topped the timesheets in second free practice for the 2019 World Superbike Championship round at Portimao, but it was his title rival Jonathan Rea that headed up the combined timesheets.

The only rider all day to dip below 1m 42secs, Rea’s 1m 41.931secs FP1 effort in the cooler morning session on a scorching day in Portugal was enough to keep him clear to the end of the day [click for FP1 report].

Indeed, only five riders improved their lap times during the afternoon session as temperatures soared into the 30-degrees, ensuring no change overall in the top nine, with Chaz Davies sneaking up from 11th to 10th after an FP2 gain. 

The FP2 session itself though would have Bautista out front from Rea, Yamaha’s Sandro Cortese and Toprak Razgatlioglu, with Davies’ fifth best time of the session allowing him to ascend overall.

Tom Sykes - BMW WorldSBK

Work to do for British contingent

Save for Rea and Alex Lowes, who were first and third overall, it was a tough day for many of the British riders with Davies’ last gasp effort the only highlight of a lacklustre day.

The Welshman – who will be joined in the Ducati team in the 2020 WorldSBK – has been struggling to get comfortable on the new Ducati Panigale V4 R fpr much of the year, but appeared to turn a corner at Laguna Seca ahead of the summer break when he scored his first win of 2019.

However, his form in Portugal had echoes of his earlier season woes, Davies only slightly quicker than Michael Ruben Rinaldi on the privateer Barni bike.

It was also a disappointing day for BMW’s Tom Sykes, whose best effort in the morning was scuppered by a crash at the final corner. Though he improved his time in FP2, it was only marginal enough to lift him to 12th, well behind his soon-to-be ousted team-mate Markus Reiterberger.