Aragon WSBK: Melandri edges Rea in Friday practice

Marco Melandri edged Jonathan Rea by just 0.039 seconds to top a weather-affected day of practice for the Aragon World Superbike round.

Aragon WSBK: Melandri edges Rea in Friday practice
Marco Melandri, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Marco Melandri, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing, Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing
Xavi Fores, Barni Racing Team
Leon Camier, Honda WSBK Team
Lorenzo Savadori, Milwaukee Aprilia

First practice was run in damp conditions following overnight rain, with championship leader Rea comfortably clear of Ducati's Melandri with a 2m02.298s, with teammate Chaz Davies a low-key 11th.

The second 40-minute session was completely dry, with top spot changing hands constantly as the field made up for the lack of dry running from the morning.

Melandri fired in a 1m50.652s at the death to depose Davies, with the Kawasaki duo of Rea and Tom Sykes pushing the Welshman back to fourth with final efforts of 1m50.691s and 1m50.849s respectively.

Rain in the final session of the day meant improvements on the combined times were few and far between.

Yamaha's Alex Lowes was the early pacesetter in FP3 with a 1m51.347s, which put him fifth overall, before MV Agusta's Jordi Torres shuffled him back with a 1m51.212s just moments later.

Honda's Leon Camier – who, along with teammate Jake Gagne [14th], is using the Magneti Marelli electronics package having completed the first two rounds with the Cosworth ECU – was outside of the Superpole 2 places at the end of FP2, but jumped up to 10th just as the rain began to intensify.

Ducati junior team rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi, making his WSBK debut this weekend, put Camier under threat, but lost out in the final sector and will face SP1 on Saturday.

With the intervention of the weather, Melandri ended Friday as the man to beat with his FP2 time ahead of the KRT pairing, while Davies – who did not venture out in FP3 due to a technical issue – headed Torres to complete the combined top five.

Sat on identical 1m51.347s laps, Lowes took top Yamaha honours from Michael van der Mark, while Barni Racing's Xavi Fores was top independent runner in eighth.

Lorenzo Savadori was the only other improver inside the top 10 in FP3, the Milwaukee Aprilia rider cementing ninth with an early gambit of 1:51.811s ahead of Camier.

Savadori’s temporary Aprilia stablemate and WSBK returnee Davide Giugliano – who is replacing the injured Eugene Laverty for at least the next two rounds – was 12th fastest.

Practice results (combined):

1 33 italy Marco Melandri  Ducati 1'50.652  
2 1 united_kingdom Jonathan Rea  Kawasaki 1'50.691 0.039
3 66 united_kingdom Tom Sykes  Kawasaki 1'50.849 0.197
4 7 united_kingdom Chaz Davies  Ducati 1'51.125 0.473
5 81 spain Jordi Torres  MV Agusta 1'51.212 0.560
6 22 united_kingdom Alex Lowes  Yamaha 1'51.347 0.695
7 60 netherlands Michael van der Mark  Yamaha 1'51.347 0.695
8 12 spain Xavi Fores  Ducati 1'51.705 1.053
9 32 italy Lorenzo Savadori  Aprilia 1'51.811 1.159
10 2 united_kingdom Leon Camier  Honda 1'51.818 1.166
11 21 italy  Michael Ruben Rinaldi  Ducati 1'51.954 1.302
12 34 italy Davide Giugliano  Aprilia 1'52.535 1.883
13 76 france Loris Baz  BMW 1'52.678 2.026
14 45 united_states Jake Gagne  Honda 1'52.778 2.126
15 40 spain Roman Ramos  Kawasaki 1'52.897 2.245
16 5 russia Vladimir Leonov  Kawasaki 1'52.978 2.326
17 54 turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu  Kawasaki 1'53.141 2.489
18 36 argentina Leandro Mercado  Kawasaki 1'53.229 2.577
19 99 united_states Patrick Jacobsen  Honda 1'53.349 2.697
20 68 colombia Yonny Hernandez  Kawasaki 1'53.466 2.814
21 37 czech_republic Ondrej Jezek  Yamaha 1'54.459 3.807
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