PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia — Only 37 thousands of a second separated Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) at the end of second free practice for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island.
Following a wet morning session that saw only few riders taking to the track, the whole field made the most of the near perfect conditions to continue their preparation for the debut races of the year.
Rookie sensation Lowes started off well by moving on top of the classification and kept the lead as the session progressed, followed by teammate Eugene Laverty.
As the on track action moved into the final stages, Melandri elevated himself to second ahead of fellow Italian Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), who also climbed up the timings in the late stages. The reigning champion had an off-track moment before regrouping to put in his session best, while his teammate Loris Baz suffered his third crash of the week. He was uninjured. The young Frenchman finished eighth behind Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), who was seventh, Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who dropped to sixth and Haslam’s teammate Jonathan Rea, who eventually climbed to fifth in the final minutes.
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) suffered a spectacular high side at turn 9 and was taken to the medical center for a precautionary exam. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) rounded out the top 10.