Honda’s Nicky Hayden ensured he ended the day fastest as the American delivered a telling lap towards the end of the World Superbike second free practice session at Misano.
Hayden made his way into top spot late in the session, narrowly edging out Althea BMW’s Markus Reiterberger and Tom Sykes on his Kawsaki but it is reigning champion Jonathan Rea who is the danger man heading into tomorrow's first race.
Although the Kawasaki star was down in seventh place in terms of single-lap pace, Rea put in 14 laps under the 1'36s mark compared to just two for Hayden. Reiterberger seems to have got his race setup nailed down with seven laps under 1’36s, three more than Sykes managed in the second session. Reiterberger’s team-mate Jordi Torres put in two 1’35s while Davies has five.
Sykes was on the pace early doors at a scorching Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, bettering his times and sitting atop the timesheets with a fine 1’35.388 after the opening salvos but crashed unhurt at turn two on the next lap.
So, it was back into the pits for the Yorkshireman to fix the damage and he wasn’t the only one as the majority of riders opted to stay in their garages and work on setup.
After 20 minutes, few of the top men had done much to change times on the leaderboard with only Aruba.it Ducati’s Davide Giugliano out on track trying, though soon after Jordi Torres had improved his times on the Althea BMW.
Chaz Davies also took his Aruba.it Ducati into third place, settling nicely into a rhythm and Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea also found some form moving into fourth.
The action failed to hot up much after that, with plenty of riders again opting for the usual time in pit-lane with 15 minutes remaining, working on getting ready to make their move at securing a Superpole 2 spot.
Reiterberger was the first to make his move, storming into the lead with a superb lap on the BMW, knocking Sykes – still sitting on his 1’35.388 – into second by just 0.003s.
That looked to be the lap that sealed it for the German, with most of the top ten making improvements but not enough to trouble the Althea BMW rider’s best.
However, all that changed in a matter of seconds as Nicky Hayden hit a purple patch in the mid-sector and finished it off in fine style, his 1’35.263 taking him into Superpole 2 with an added confidence booster.
Behind the front trio of Hayden, Reiterberger and Sykes came Giugliano, Torres, Davies and Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.
A disappointing opening to his efforts on the Adriatic coast was compounded by eighth for world champion Rea, ahead of Honda’s Michael Van Der Mark and Barni Ducati’s Xavi Fores who rounded out the top ten.
An intriguing Superpole 1 session tomorrow morning will see the two Milwaukee BMWs of Karel Abraham and Josh Brookes duke it out alongside Leon Camier and the Aprilia duo of Lorenzo Savadori and Alex DeAngelis, who also crashed at turn 14 late on.