Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu was back in charge for WorldSBK FP2 at San Juan on Friday as the sole rider to run 1’37 pace in the second session.
Ducati’s Scott Redding and Alex Lowes completed the afternoon’s front running pace ahead of their respective teammates as KRT’s title fighter Jonathan Rea was left fifth after crashing out in the opening minutes.
Ideal conditions treated the WorldSBK class as the afternoon practice began. 19℃ air temperatures and clear blue skies providing the opportunity to get straight up to speed around the mountainous layout.
Lowes hit the front as the first laps registered, setting the opening 1’39 of the session before the hot laps came in. His KRT teammate taking over with a ’39.6, a time he would instantly match, before Redding claimed the benchmark two-tenths ahead.
The target moved once again with the third efforts, as Lowes claimed the first 1’38 of the day. The Brit sitting half a second ahead of Razgatlioglu, thanks to his 1’38.420 effort, with Rea a similar distance further back in third.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi claimed his place in the top four with his fourth lap of the 45-minute session before fellow Italian Axel Bassani bettered. The top 12 all running under the 1’40 barrier after just 10 minutes on track with Michael van der Mark the first rider outside.
The top two continued to battle for dominance in the overall times as the season unfolded. The Pata Yamaha rider holding Lowes off by a mere 0.023s, as Rea proceeded to push from third and Redding joined the pace, in fourth.
Local rider, Tati Mercado was yet to improve on his early time as he circulated in 16th, running equal pace with Eugene Laverty ahead. While a dramatic turn six crash found Rea down in the gravel trap 15-minutes into the final practice.
The second runs saw Redding running solo as he looked to fine-tune his 38.7 pace, the Brit continuing to outperform in the opening two sectors before falling short in the second half of the technical layout.
Garrett Gerloff returned to a top six position as he circulated just half a second shy of his fellow Yamaha out front. Rinaldi and the Hondas of Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista behind with Chaz Davies rounding out the top 10 at the session’s mid-point.
Razgatlioglu moved the goal posts once again with his 11th lap of the afternoon, 1’38.269 the target with 17 minutes left on the clock before the time was deleted. His 1’38.3 replacing it next time around.
Rinaldi was on a charge in the closing 10 minutes, the Aruba Ducati claiming fourth, six-thousandths ahead of his teammate, with Bassani the other side of Redding, in sixth.
The leading R1 sat on the bubble of 1’38 after 19 laps of the 4.3km circuit before smashing the standings with a 1’37.872 next time around. Redding was out for his final run and once again looking menacing in the opening stages of the lap before fading in the third sector after getting caught out by back-marker Christophe Ponsson with three minutes left to play.
The final push saw Bautista advance to eighth as Redding finally made the lap stick, to second. Rinaldi consolidating fourth behind Lowes as Rea was dropped to fifth with the chequered flag.
Gerloff took sixth from Bassani, with Haslam demoting his teammate in the dying seconds in the fight for eighth. Davies, Bassani and Andrea Locatelli enjoyed a final flourish in tandem to spoil the show and take sixth through eighth respectably.