Jonathan Rea put in a dominant performance in Friday practice for the Donington round of the Superbike World Championship, leading the field by more than half a second over the factory Kawasaki.
The six-time WSBK champion took just over five minutes in second down to lower Toprak Razgatliogu’s benchmark by 1m27.805s from FP1, placing well ahead of the opposition with a 1m27.359s.
The 35-year-old managed to shave off another four thousandths on his next flying lap, which should have been enough to finish the day comfortably in the lead.
But Rea found even more time in his last race, posting a time of 1m27.016s to put the light of day between him and his rivals, as the checkerboard flew away after 45 minutes of racing in the post- midday.
Last year’s title winner Razgatlioglu ended up being Rea’s closest challenger on the factory Yamaha with a time of 1m27.568s, while Scott Redding made the most of a set BMW upgraded which included a new swingarm to finish just 0.031s behind the Turkish rider in third. .
Kawasaki’s apparent speed advantage in Friday’s practice was validated by Alex Lowes, who jumped from seventh to fourth on the timesheets with a late effort of 1m27.678s.
That pushed championship leader Alvaro Bautista into fifth on the leading Ducati, more than seven-tenths behind arch-rival Rea but just 0.046 seconds behind Lowes.
Bautista’s teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi was rated 0.005 seconds behind in sixth, while Loris Baz – who wears the same updates as Redding on the Bonovo MGM BMW satellite bike – was a solid seventh.
Andrea Locatelli finished eighth on the second of the factory Yamaha bikes, a tenth ahead of the second-best R1 of Garrett Gerloff (GRT team).
The top 10 was completed by Leon Haslam, who is making the first of his five scheduled appearances for Pedercini after replacing Loris Cresson during the team’s full season in Assen.
Back from a broken right hand, Lucas Mahias finished the day in a solid 11th place aboard the Puccetti Kawasaki bike with a best time of 1m28.482s.
Reigning British Superbike champion Tarran Mackenzie achieved an improvement of more than a second between the two practice sessions on Friday in his first WSBK outing, eventually finishing 15th in order on his MCAMS Yamaha.
He narrowly beat Isle of Man TT winner Peter Hickman (FHO BMW), who is making his first wildcard outing in the series this year since the same round at Donington Park in 2019.