Rea storms to pole at Jerez

by Robert Jones

Jonathan Rea produced a scintillating lap in the final stages of Superpole to take his second pole position of the year. His first came at the opening round back in Phillip Island. 

His lap time of 1.38.247, was a new circuit record for a World Superbike around Jerez, and the Kawasaki rider has put himself in prime position to convert that into victory during race one later today.

Joining Rea on the front row is championship rival, Alvaro Bautista. The pair are only separated by three hundreds of a second.

Bautista has been consistently at the top of the time-sheets during the weekend and will hope to carry his front row performance into what could be a twelfth win of the season on the Aruba.it Ducati machine. 

Yesterday was a very strong day for the Pata Yamaha pairing of Michael Van Der Mark and Alex Lowes. But both men were unable to consolidate their race pace, as Lowes qualified fourth and Van Der Mark was down in a surprising seventh. 

Image Credit: WorldSBK.com

Instead, it was the GRT Yamaha of Marco Melandri who closed out the front row. The Italian has looked back to his best this weekend, with the Spanish circuit suiting his bike and riding style. Melandri will without doubt hope this is a turning pint in his 2019 season, as the last few rounds have been very tough for the team and rider.

Teammate Sandro Cortese was looking in great form too and on course to challenge for the front row. However, a crash at turn six put a halt to the German’s efforts.  Leon Haslam was fifth on the other factory Kawasaki, ahead of Motorrad BMW rider, Tom Sykes who has looked strong once again this weekend. 

The 2013 world champion has often qualified well this season, but has not had the results he’s deserved. Sykes will be confident heading into race one, as the team has brought new upgrades to the bike, meaning the Englishman could be set for his best weekend of the year. 

It was a great session for Jordi Torres of the Pedercini Racing team, who produced his best qualifying result of the season, with an eighth place start ahead of Cortese and Michael Ruben-Rinaldi

It was another disastrous session for Chaz Davies, who was once again way off the pace and could only manage twelfth on the grid, 1.4 seconds off the top time. 

Davies had looked back on top form over the last two rounds but the three time winner at Jerez has looked uncomfortable from the outset in what looks to be a damage limitation weekend for the Welsh rider. 

Race one begins at 13:00 live on Eurosport

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