2017 World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has continued his domination of this season by easing clear in the opening free practice session at Jerez to eventually take top spot by over half a second despite a series of quick laps from a number of challengers at the end of FP1.

Four different riders raised the lap time for top spot in the final 15 minutes of the first session at the resurfaced Jerez circuit but Rea, who has never won at the Spanish track in his career, stormed through on his final run to reclaim the top time with a 1m 40.598s before cementing his advantage with a 1m 40.291s.

That left closest challenger Alex Lowes on the Pata Yamaha exactly 0.6s off of the three-time WSBK champion who looks to be in a class of his own once again. With Lowes in second he edged ahead of Marco Melandri on the Aruba.it Racing Ducati who had half of his track time lost due to technical issues in the garage but was still able to clinch third on the timesheet.

Eugene Laverty’s late improvement for Milwaukee Aprilia put him fourth fastest ahead of the second Pata Yamaha of Michael van der Mark, with local rider Roman Ramos in sixth having briefly led the session on the Team Go Eleven Kawasaki.

Chaz Davies slipped to seventh late on for Aruba.it Racing Ducati but in front of championship runner-up rival Tom Sykes with Jordi Torres (Althea BMW) sandwiched between the two in eighth. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) holds the provisional final top ten spot with one eye on Superpole two having seen off Xavi Fores (Barni Ducati), with Raffaele De Rosa in 12th having suffered a late fall at turn one.


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