With the first round archived, there’s no time to rest because the Superbike immediately flies to Indonesia, where the second round of the season is taking place this weekend. In Mandalika, Ducati is once again making its voice, with the factory team dominating on Friday’s free practice: however, it is Michael Ruben Rinaldi who prevails on this first day of the weekend, and in the combined he scores another one-two with Alvaro Bautista in second position.
Returning to Mandalika after a few months, the riders found a dry track but rather treacherous conditions, the slippery asphalt caused many riders to crash, including the two Aruba standard-bearers. Despite a crash in FP1, Rinaldi set the best time then improving in the afternoon and stopping the clock at 1’32”468. The rider from Romagna was better than his team mate by just 29 thousandths. The reigning champion crashed during FP2 at Turn 1, fortunately without any consequences.
In third position we find Toprak Razgatlioglu, who pays a gap of one and a half tenths compared to the two Ducati riders. Not very much in terms of timing, but the two red bearers certainly made the difference once again. The Turk, who had won his first world title here in 2021, is the only one who comes close in some way to Rinaldi and Bautista.
Jonathan Rea is in fact fourth, but accuses a delay of more than seven tenths from the lead, confirming the fact that the difficulties of Phillip Island also continue in Indonesia. Of course, it’s only Friday and conditions weren’t ideal, but the gap between the two Ducatisti is confirmation of the overwhelming power of the four-cylinder.
Instead, the weekend for BMW got off on the right foot, managing to place both factory bikes in the top 10: Michael van der Mark was fifth, while Scott Redding was tenth with the other M1000RR. The Dutchman’s gap is over seven tenths of a second, while the Briton exceeds the gap from the leader by more than a second.
In sixth position is Remy Gardner, who after a bitter opening round, seeks redemption and starts the Mandalika appointment with a different pace, managing to be the second of the Yamaha riders, only behind Toprak. The GRT Australian is also the best of the independent riders, while his teammate Dominique Aegerter is only 12th, 1.3 seconds off the leader of the day.
Opaque Friday for Alex Lowes and Andrea Locatelli, seventh and eighth respectively. After the leap at Phillip Island, the Yamaha rider from Bergamo is the first to go more than a second behind the leader of the day. In ninth position we find Axel Bassani, second independent rider after Gardner and third of the Ducati riders in the top 10. Danilo Petrucci, on the other hand, struggles, 15th with the Panigale V4R of the Barni team, and Philipp Oettl, 16th with the four-cylinder of the GoEleven team.
A bitter day also for Honda, which does not see any of its standard-bearers in the top ten positions: Xavi Vierge is 11th and pays 1.3 seconds behind Rinaldi, while Iker Lecuona does not go beyond 17th position. The Spaniard practically lost the entire FP1 due to a crash at the start of the session which forced him to stay in the pits.
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