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Tom Sykes has led an incredibly close FP2 session at Jerez with the top 15 split by less than one second and World Superbike title rival Jonathan Rea shuffled down to ninth.

As the World Superbike grid sharpened their speeds at the Spanish circuit, Sykes headed proceedings at the chequered flag having demonstrated strong pace both over short blasts and longer runs in the afternoon session.

Aruba.it Racing Ducati's Chaz Davies narrowly missed out on top spot by just 0.038s from Sykes while Pata Yamaha's Alex Lowes claimed third with less than one-tenth of a second separating the top three to set up an intriguing qualifying session.

Michael van der Mark on the Ten Kate-prepared Honda challenged for top spot during the opening phases of the session to eventually take fourth to make it four different manufacturers in the front four spots with FP1 timesheet-topper Xavi Fores completing the top five.

Sylvain Guintoli capped an impressive showing for Pata Yamaha in sixth - only 0.162s off Sykes - as he held off Nicky Hayden and Leon Camier who recovered strongly on the MV Agusta from his FP1 fall.

Despite being less than four-tenths of a second behind his timesheet-topping Kawasaki team-mate, Rea slipped to ninth as Davide Giugliano rounded out the top ten who will automatically progress into Superpole 2.

Althea BMW's Jordi Torres was the unlucky rider to just miss out on an automatic berth after failing to better his FP1 time but kept in front of Lorenzo Savadori, Markus Reiterberger and Anthony West.

Milwaukee BMW's Karel Abraham sat out both FP1 and FP2 with a fever but is expected to return to action for FP3 ahead of qualifying at Jerez.