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Rea leads proceedings on opening day in France

Davies, Sykes, Haslam and Lowes complete an all-British top 5 at Magny-Cours.

Davies, Sykes, Haslam and Lowes complete an all-British top 5 at Magny-Cours.

Jonathan Rea (GBR) made the most of his penultimate lap to maintain first place at the end of FP2

The opening day’s Free Practice sessions for the Fassi French Round drew to a close with new WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea leading the way aboard his Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R. The 28-year-old Ulsterman was able to break the 1’38s barrier on his penultimate lap of the FP2 session as he lapped the 4.411km Magny-Cours track in 1’37.750, to edge his teammate Tom Sykes and factory Ducati rider Chaz Davies by nearly three tenths of a second.

Fourth and fifth placed Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) showed great speed aboard their respective bikes, likewise Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) who was sixth at the flag, despite an early crash during the session.

Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) continued his familiarisation with the French track by finishing seventh ahead of the Italian trio of Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati), Luca Scassa (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) and Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia), who rounded out the top 10.

Outgoing WorldSBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike) was headed by Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) for eleventh, while one wildcard rider Markus Reiterberger (VanZon Remeha BMW) claimed a provisional thirteenth place ahead of tomorrow morning’s FP3, which will decide the riders taking part in the twelfth round’s Tissot-Superpole.

WorldSBK Magny-Cours – Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
1 – Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team
2 – Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team +0.294
3 – Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.323