Yakhnich Yamaha’s Sam Lowes left it till there was only eight minutes left of the World Supersport first free practice session to cement himself as the fastest rider out on the Istanbul Park circuit.
Lowes initially clocked a 2’01.196 which pushed him from sixth to first on the timesheets. Then a lap later the Lincolnshire rider went even faster and set a 2’00.741. When the chequered flag appeared the Yamaha rider was able to hold off the charges of Pata Honda’s Lorenzo Zanetti to go even faster with a 2’00.455.
At the beginning of the 90 minute session it was Rivamoto’s Jack Kennedy who was the quickest out on track, but that was not to last, and local rider MAHI Racing’s Kenan Sofuoglu soared to the top of the free practice timesheets with a 2’01.485, and looked as if he would set the provisional pole position. But the Turkish rider was unable to go faster and soon found himself slipping down the standings.
With fifteen minutes remaining it was Sofuoglu who was dominating the session, followed by Lowes and Marino. But two minutes later, Zanetti was the fastest rider with a 2’01.389, but the Italian could not hold off the race pace of Lowes who initially went two tenths of a second quicker.
Zanetti’s team-mate Michael Van der Mark could not emulate the pace of his colleague and ended the session in fifth, followed by Sofuoglu and Kawasaki Intermoto’s David Salom. DMC-Lorenzini rider Kev Coghlan was consistently lapping in the 2’01’s and ended the session eighth fastest with a 2’01.827, with ParkinGO MV’s Roberto Rolfo and Yakhnich Yamaha’s Vladimir Leonov rounding off the top ten.
Rivamoto’s Jack Kennedy crashed at turn 12 with three minutes remaining, but was unhurt and finished the opening free practice in eighteenth with a 2’02.715 lap time. PTR Honda’s Danny Webb rounded off the top twenty, with ParkinGO MV’s Christian Iddon ending the session 28th quickest with a 2’05.602.