Donington Park WorldSBK - Free Practice Results (1)

Tom Sykes demonstrated impressive performance out of the box as he stormed to the quickest lap time in first free practice for Round 8 of the 2019 Word Superbike Championship at Donington Park, but it was worrisome opening for Alvaro Bautista and Ducati.

With the lap record, pole positions and several victories at Donington Park, Sykes’ excellent form at the Leicestershire circuit arguably makes him a favourite for the podium or more this weekend and he proved exactly why as he blitzed the opposition in FP1.

Setting a benchmark of 1m 27.790secs, not only did no other rider get below 1m 28secs, Sykes achieved the feat on three occasions over the course of the session aboard the factory BMW S1000RR.

Toprak Razgatlioglu proved his closest rival in second position, albeit almost 0.4secs adrift of the top spot, while Alex Lowes was third quickest but ended the session down and out with a crash Craner Curves which left him unharmed but the Pata Yamaha heavily damaged.

A late improvement saw Loris Baz jump into an impressive fourth quickest aboard the Ten Kate Yamaha, with Michael van der Mark showing few ill-effects from his wrist injury and surgery to build up his speed towards fifth best.

Jordi Torres made it two satellite Kawasakis ahead of the factory ZX-10RRs in a lofty sixth place, with Leon Haslam in seventh and Jonathan Rea in eighth.

Indeed, it was a tough morning for title rivals Rea and Bautista, who could only managed eighth and 11th respectively, the latter visibly struggling to find a comfortable setting on the Ducati Panigale V4 R as he fought the bike under braking to end the session 2.5s off the pace.

By contrast, Sykes’ new-for-this-weekend team-mate Peter Hickman showed superb pace on his maiden outing aboard the electronics-laden factory BMW by going ninth quickest at his first attempt.

Along with Lowes, Marco Melandri was another rider to come down, albeit at low speed at Goddards, while series returnee Eugene Laverty endured a tough return down in 18th and last on the Go Eleven Ducati. He will no undergo checks for whether he can continue to compete this weekend.

 

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