Jonathan Rea missed the Superpole 2 qualifying cut on Friday as the reigning World Superbike champion admitted it wasn’t the ideal scenario ahead of Saturday’s opening race at the Lausitzring in Germany.
The Kawasaki rider was 11th fastest and will have to qualify either first or second quickest in Superpole 1 on Saturday morning to seal his place in the second Superpole session.
His team-mate and key championship rival, Tom Sykes, was third fastest on the opening day of practice to go straight through to Superpole 2.
Rea, who holds an advantage of 46 points over the Yorkshire rider with four rounds to go, said: “It is not an ideal position to start the weekend from because it makes it more difficult tomorrow, having to go through Superpole 1 first, but it is how it is. I did not have the best feeling when I got here and the bike is not turning so well in the long corners.
“We have tried some things but I do not think this position is a true reflection of our overall race speed.”
The German venue is back on the World Superbike calendar for the first time in almost a decade.
Lorenzo Savadori was the surprise pacesetter on the Ioda Aprilia from home star Marcus Reiterberger (Althea BMW) and Sykes, with Chaz Davies fourth fastest on the Aruba.it Ducati. Ulsterman Rea’s time of 1m 38.720s left him only half-a-second from the top.
Meanwhile, Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon was fastest in free practice at Donington Park from Showdown contender Luke Mossey, with Shane Byrne fourth on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati behind John Hopkins (ePayMe Yamaha).
Championship leader Leon Haslam was seventh fastest on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki, while Michael Laverty was 10th on the Tyco BMW.
Glenn Irwin (PBM Be Wiser Ducati) and Alastair Seeley (RAF Reserves BMW) were ninth and 17th respectively.
It was confirmed on Friday that Dublin’s Jack Kennedy has been dropped by the WD40 Kawasaki team for the remaining races after a series of poor results. Kennedy remains under contract with the team until the end of the season.
In the Superstock 1000 class, Taylor Mackenzie was fastest in first qualifying on the Buildbase BMW from Keith Farmer (Quay Garage Honda) and Tyco BMW riders Ian Hutchinson and Josh Elliott.