Rea riding high but Ducati pair will take the fight to Kawasaki star
The seventh round of the World Superbike Championship takes place this weekend in Italy, with current leader and defending champion Jonathan Rea already on his way to add to his eight wins this season.
He topped Friday's combined practice timesheets at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with a 1'34.901 in the FP2 session. He's only 0.03s ahead of second fastest Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) third.
In last round of racing at Donington Park, the Kawasaki rider bounced back from a 120mph crash on Saturday to come from 10th on the grid on Sunday to pulverise the field and take a well-deserved win. In doing so, Rea opened a 55-point lead in the series and gave the Japanese manufacturer their 100th WSB win.
After a recent test at Misano, Rea said: "After spending some time at home soaking up the TT atmosphere, I'm ready for the challenge of Misano."
"We now have a good understanding of how the bike performs in different temperatures."
Welshman Chaz Davies and his Ducati team-mate Melandri are certainly capable of upsetting the Kawasakis, and with the Italian having spent a lot of his youth just an hour from the circuit - where he has done miles and miles of testing - he could well be the man taking the fight to Rea and Sykes over this weekend.
• A crash during yesterday's opening practice session at Knockhill Chicane ahead of tomorrow's BSB round saw Glenn Irwin taken to Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy with suspected dislocated shoulder and elbow injuries.