Jonathan Rea has smashed the Suzuka 8 Hours pole position lap record in his second qualifying session as Kawasaki sends out a warning to its factory rivals.

With uncertain weather conditions overhanging the weekend, Rea set about demonstrating the #11 Kawasaki Team Green ZX-10RR’s pace in his final 20-minute qualifying session and the reigning World Superbike champion duly destroyed the previous lap record by almost one second with a 2m 05.168s.

Such was Rea’s dominance, nearest rival Alex Lowes on the defending champions’ #21 Yamaha Factory Racing Team was over two seconds slower in the same session

In the final session Rea handed over to team-mate Leon Haslam who also improved on his personal best with a 2m 06.636s to keep hold of top spot, with #95 Suzuki’s Kazuki Watanabe slotting into second place.

With the average time between all three riders from each team used to provisionally set the grid, the #11 Kawasaki of Rea, Haslam and Kazuma Watanabe leads the way ahead of the #21 Yamaha squad of Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

#33 Honda of Takumi Takahashi, Takaaki Nakagami and PJ Jacobsen takes the provisional third spot with a stronger average than the #12 factory Suzuki Motul Racing team of Sylvain Guintoli, Bradley Ray and Takuya Tsuda in foruth place.

With the #634 MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda squad slotting into fifth, the #95 S-Pulse Dream Racing Suzuki squad caught the eye in qualifying to take sixth place with Hideyuki Ogata, Tommy Bridwell and Watanabe.

Friday’s qualifying sessions determine which top 10 teams graduating into the pole position shootout on Saturday before Sunday’s race.

Lowes suffered a small mistake during his second session when collecting Tommy Bridewell, but the BSB rider was still able to impress in the session by taking third behind Rea and Lowes on the #95 Suzuki – displacing the factory #33 Red Bull Honda with Japan Post squad into fourth.

A one-hour night practice session will take place later at Suzuka to give riders the opportunity to get up to speed under the floodlights with the race ending in darkness.