Magny-Cours WorldSBK - Free Practice Results (1)

Jonathan Rea got what could be another title-crowning race weekend underway in fine style as he topped the timesheets in a sodden first free practice for the penultimate 2020 WorldSBK Championship round at Magny-Cours.

The Ulsterman, who needs to out-score Scott Redding by 11 points this weekend to notch up another record-breaking sixth WorldSBK title,  mastered tricky wet conditions around the French circuit to take the early initiative.

With no chance of the circuit drying, the session saw a steady stream of action throughout the 45mins but it was Rea’s last effort of 1m 49.356secs in the closing stages - 1.4secs faster than anyone else - that would see him well out front.

Loris Baz kicked off his home round positively too with a run to the second best time on the Ten Kate Yamaha, while Tom Sykes initially tussled for the top spot with Rea on the BMW en route to third best.

Toprak Razgatlioglu was back in action for Yamaha, setting the fourth best time ahead of Xavi Fores - fresh from the announcement he will not compete with Puccetti Kawasaki in 2021 - completing the top five positions.

Alex Lowes was sixth best on the second of the factory Kawasakis, ahead of outside title contender Scott Redding, the Briton seeing off Ducati counterpart Michael Ruben Rinaldi - who fell late on at Turn 15 - and Michael van der Mark, who was ninth despite slowing with a mechanical problem on his Yamaha.

Leon Haslam completed the top ten, well clear of team-mate Alvaro Bautista - who could only manage the 19th best time - and Barcelona standout Garrett Gerloff, who comes into the weekend looking to build on his spectacular maiden podium last time out in Spain.

Despite the inclement weather conditions, which inevitably led to numerous run offs and cancelled lap times, there were only three fallers, including Rinaldi. Leandro Mercado - returning from his second injury time out in four races - fell at Turn 15, while Federico Caricasulo’s fold under braking at the Adelaide hairpin necessitated a red flag period.



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