World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea 'excited' for Saturday's opening race at Aragon after ending Friday third fastest
Rea topped the afternoon session on his Kawasaki from team-mate Alex Lowes, with Aruba.it Ducati rider Redding third fastest in FP2.
However, Redding’s time was only good enough for eighth overall on day one and the 2019 British Superbike champion, who trails Ulsterman Rea by only four points ahead of this weekend’s fourth round at the Spanish circuit, will be aiming for a big improvement on Saturday.
His team-mate, Welshman Chaz Davies, was sixth quickest in FP2, but the Aragon specialist’s time from the morning session was the fastest on the combined time sheets, with Davies claiming the top spot by only 0.058s from Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Go Eleven Ducati).
Behind Rea in third, Alvaro Bautista impressed on for Team HRC as he set the fourth fastest time, despite the Spaniard only completing in and out laps in FP2, when he did not register a time. It was a mixed day for Bautista, who suffered a crash and a technical problem in FP1.
Tom Sykes, who is celebrating a new contract with the factory BMW Motorrad team for 2021, was fifth fastest overall ahead of Loris Baz (Ten Kate Yamaha).
Briton Lowes was next up as he claimed seventh position yesterday, with Redding slotting into eighth.
Rea, who is gunning for a sensational sixth world crown in a row in 2021, said: “I felt OK with the bike today because we had a test here a few weeks ago. We understood the base set-up.
“In the second session we made a big change with the wheelbase of the bike to understand how it is working in these hotter conditions. I think we will go back to what we had this morning and at the test.
“It seems like tomorrow is going to be a little bit cooler so we can understand the tyres in the morning FP3 session and make a final race plan from there,” he added.
“We have a good idea that our bike will work OK in the cooler conditions, so tomorrow’s target is to make a time attack in Superpole to get a good grid position and then make a solid 18 laps.
“I feel excited about it because there are a lot of guys in the front, quite close together, so we need to do our homework tonight and come back swinging tomorrow.”
Eugene Laverty, who lost his factory ride with the BMW team next season after Sykes was confirmed as Michael van der Mark’s team-mate, was 16th – 1.4s back on pacesetter Davies.
Following FP3 on Saturday morning, Superpole qualifying will take place from 10:00-10:25 BST. The first race is scheduled for 13:00 BST.
On Sunday, the Superpole race is at 10:00 BST with race two at 13:00 BST.
Meanwhile, Eunan McGlinchey was 23rd fastest in the World Supersport 300 class at Aragon, where the young championship rookie is making his debut.
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