Jonathan Rea has kept hold of top spot on Friday free practice at Jerez despite an early fall in the second session, as Tom Sykes closed the gap to go second fastest for a Kawasaki 1-2.

On Rea’s first flying lap of FP2 he high-sided off at turn 8, walking away holding his left wrist, but after a speedy repair job and medical check the triple World Superbike champion returned to the circuit with just under 20 minutes of the session remaining.

Despite not improving his outright top lap time from FP2, Rea was still fastest in the session for Kawasaki with team-mate Sykes also improving to take second on the timesheet.

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Staggeringly, less than 0.01s split Sykes in second from Eugene Laverty in sixth place to make it an ultra-competitive pack chasing the 2017 world champion Rea. Michael van der Mark grabbed third on the timesheet for Pata Yamaha ahead of team-mate Alex Lowes with Marco Melandri in fifth for Aruba.it Racing Ducati in front of Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia.

Laverty’s team-mate Lorenzo Savadori also grabbed his place in Superpole 2 despite a scary moment on his fastest lap before tipping off moments later at turn 2.

Local rider Roman Ramos held on to his top ten place in eighth for Team Go Eleven Kawasaki, while 2014 World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli impressed on his return to the series with Puccetti Kawasaki to take ninth in FP2.

Chaz Davies also tumbled off early on in the afternoon session which prematurely ended his FP2 after just eight minutes but his fastest time from the morning was enough to hold on to the final top ten place to take a Superpole two place.

Leon Camier narrowly missed out on the automatic Superpole two places for MV Agusta in 11th, ahead of Leandro Mercado (IodaRacing Aprilia), Jordi Torres and Raffaele De Rosa (both Althea BMW).