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WorldSBK Misano: Hometown hero Rinaldi tops Friday's times

Hometown hero Michael Rinaldi - born a stone’s throw from the Misano circuit - topped the combined Friday WorldSBK free practice times almost three-tenths ahead of Kawasaki’s Alex Lowes.

Rinaldi was well inside Jonathan Rea’s six-year old lap record, registering a 1’34.334 compared to Lowes’ 1’34.628 while team-mate and reigning champion Jonathan Rea was third but more than half a second off the pace in the afternoon session.

Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu both posted a 1’34.848s across the day, with Razgatlioglu setting that time to top Free Practice 1 session, while Rea found almost a second between the two sessions - Rea losing some track time in the opening session.


Razgatlioglu was classified in third place with Rea in fourth although the Turkish rider did suffer a technical problem as Free Practice 2 came to an end and got a lift back to the Yamaha garage with Scott Redding.

American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) claimed fifth place in the combined classification after posting the third-best time in FP1, with Redding (Aruba Ducati) in sixth. Redding missed out on track time in Free Practice 1 after an engine problem, while he was also sanctioned for not immediately stopping his bike following that issue with a suspension from the first 20 minutes of the afternoon session.

Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) had a strong afternoon to claim seventh place after Friday’s action, although the Spanish rider did crash his Honda machine at turn four but was able to re-mount the bike once the session had ended.

Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad) was in eighth place after bouncing back from a challenging morning while Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Leon Haslam (Team HRC) completed the top ten.

Lucas Mahias, sporting a striking livery with his Puccetti Kawasaki bike, had a crash in the final corner that cost him plenty of track time with over half an hour to go in the session; Mahias had shown strong pace in the early stages of Free Practice 2 which enabled him to finish 11th overall on Friday.

Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) was 12th as he goes in search of his 100th WorldSBK podium this weekend; the British rider crashed but re-mounting his Ducati machine at Turn 4 and able to finish ahead of Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) with the Spanish rider having a very similar incident almost straight after Davies. BMW runners Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse) completed the top 15.

Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) made it three BMW riders in a row with 16th place, just ahead of Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha World

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