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Qatar WSBK: Rea pinches top spot in opening practice

World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea has drawn first blood in the opening session of free practice at Qatar, pinching top spot from Chaz Davies with his final run at the desert circuit.

The Kawasaki man, who needs just two points from two races this weekend at Losail, shot to the pointy end of the first session with a 1’58.197 in the middle of his last run of lap to depose Aruba Ducati’s Davies by a little over a quarter of a second.

It is not good news, however, for Tom Sykes’ grip on second in the championship as he is down in 13th place and almost 1.8s slower than his team-mate.


Wales’ Davies had been sitting pretty at the head of the table with only a new minutes left and had Honda’s Nicky Hayden right behind him.

But a furious final period which saw all the top men go for a time attack run saw the leaderboard shaken up with first Hayden taking the lead before being deposed by Sylvain Guintoli’s Yamaha.

Davies regained the lead with a 1’58.460 but it was Hayden’s team-mate Michael van Der Mark who bagged third place on a 1’58.673, closely-followed by Alex Lowes on the second Pata-backed R1.

Guintoli found himself pushed back to fifth place on a 1’58.933 but stayed ahead of Hayden in sixth place. Xavi Fores took seventh with Davide Giugliano in eighth. Jordi Torres took ninth while Raffaele De Rosa completed the top ten despite a crash.

Alex De Angelis and Lorenzo Savadori are the two Aprilias running together in 11th and 12th, both ahead of Sykes’ factory Kawasaki.

Leon Camier is in 14th place and suffering badly on top speed with a ten mph deficit on the Aprilias and BMWs around him. Josh Brookes, riding a Superbike for the first time at Losail, was 15th.

It was not a great start for Leon Haslam as electronics problems kept him in the garage for the entire session save for seven laps.

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