Day one at the Pata Riviera Di Rimini round seven at Misano, ended with Michael Van Der Mark topping the combined Free Practice times, but suffering a huge crash in the process.
Van Der Mark set the fastest lap of the day as Free Practice 2 was coming to an end, but on his final lap the Pata Yamaha rider suffered a vicious highside coming out of the final turn.
The Dutchman was consistently one of the fastest riders in both sessions, along with Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea. However, it remains to be seen what condition he will be in for qualifying and race one on Saturday afternoon.
The rider to beat remains Bautista, as the Spaniard looked in sublime form over race distance. This has been a familiar trend with his outstanding performances in 2019, as tyre preservation has been one of the Aruba.it Ducati’s biggest strengths.
Bautista finished both sessions in the top three, ahead of what could be a crucial round in his championship battle with Rea. For the Kawasaki rider, it was a positive day as the defending champion was matching the pace of both Van Der Mark and Bautista throughout, something he couldn’t do in Jerez.
Rea has been extremely dominant at Misano in recent years, and made his mark immediately by topping Free Practice 1. Although Rea did not improve his lap time in the second session, he remained just eight thousandths of a second shy of the top time.
Like Van Der Mark, Rea suffered a crash in the final moments of the afternoon session, which brought his day to a premature end.
There were some surprising performances over the course of the day, with Tom Sykes and Sandro Cortese both spending time at the top of the leaderboard in Free Practice 2. Sykes comes off his best weekend in terms of consistency at Jerez, and once again showed great pace especially over one lap, finishing the day sixth overall.
The GRT Yamaha team will be hoping that a decent points haul could be on the cards this weekend, with both Cortese and Marco Melandri combining for fourth and ninth respectively in both sessions. Melandri returned to form in a big way in Jerez, with two podium finishes and will hope to have a repeat performance after a solid start to his home round.
Chaz Davies and Alex Lowes are two high profile names in need of good results this weekend, and both men had an unspectacular but promising day. Lowes was fourth quickest in Free Practice 1 and finished the day fifth overall, while Davies showed top five pace before ending the day eighth.