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WorldSBK Magny-Cours: Rea opens one-second gap in wet first session

Reigning WorldSBK king Jonathan Rea opened a 1.3-second lead over the pack during a wet first practice at Magny-Cours this morning.

The Kawasaki man was more than two seconds ahead with a minute left but Ten Kate Yamaha’s Loris Baz clawed it back to 1.351s with his final effort.

Rea finished on a 1’49.356 with Baz completing his morning with a 1’50.707. Third place went to Tom Sykes’ BMW which was a further three-tenths slower than Rea.


Baz made all the early running, leading the session until Rea came out on the half hour and immediately went to the top of the tree.

The Irishman was never headed again and at times had some enormous gaps to the riders behind but Baz was able to at least reign him in at the end.

It was not a good showing for Honda until some setup changes for Leon Haslam’s final run saw him able to find the top ten.

It looked very much like the team had gone the wrong way with electronic settings and it took until the final ten minutes for Haslam to get to something he could work with.

The former BSB king still ended up 3.2s off the pace but team-mate Alvaro Bautista - never known for his brilliance in the rain - was 7.5s slower than Rea and the last rider inside the 107 per cent time cut off.

Another man not known for his love of the wet is Toprak Razgatlioglu but the Turk still managed to snag fourth place with a 1’51.320 on the works Yamaha.

Xavi Fores grabbed fifth with his last lap and put the customer Puccetti Kawasaki ahead of the works ZX-10RR of Alex Lowes, who finished with a 1’52.114 and 2.758 off the pace.

Scott Redding - the only man who can stop Rea lifting the title this weekend - finished 2.8s in arrears and just ahead of the GoEleven Panigale of Michael Rinaldi who crashed at the end of the session.

Michael van der Mark was next along but he suffered a breakdown at the same time as Rinaldi’s spill. Haslam completed the top ten.


Garrett Gerloff finished in 11th with Eugene Laverty in 12th place after completing only eight laps. Chaz Davies put his works Panigale in 16th place.

The session was ref-flagged with 17 minutes to go after Federico Caricasulo slid off and there was some suspicion of fluid on the surface. Tati Mercado also crashed unhurt

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