REPORT: Sam Lowes leads Rinaldi on Day 1 at Cremona as heavy rain curtails afternoon running

Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) was the fastest rider on the opening day of testing at the Cremona Circuit, taking advantage of the best conditions of the day to post the best time on Thursday. With sunny skies greeting the field in the morning, it looked like an ideal day for testing but, during the lunch break, heavy rain fell which disrupted the afternoon’s proceedings.

SAM LOWES TOP, LECUONA THIRD: a good return to the bike for the #7

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) was fast out of the blocks on Day 1, utilising his recent track day experience at the circuit to post rapid times with the #21 the first to break into the 1’30s barrier. However, he finished the day 0.155s slower than Lowes after the Brit set a rapid 1’29.976s to claim top spot, while the #14 also racked up the most laps with 76 under his belt in just four hours. Rinaldi was one of two WorldSBK riders to test Cremona in the wet, completing 20 laps and posting a 1’39.413s for his fastest time in the afternoon, around nine seconds slower than his dry-weather pace. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) rounded out the top three as he looked to get back to full fitness, setting a 1’30.510s for P3 although he did just over half the laps his teammate completed.

THREE RIDERS, HALF A TENTH: little to separate Vierge, Redding and Rabat

It was a good day for Honda with Lecuona’s teammate, Xavi Vierge, in fourth. He was two tenths slower than Lecuona after setting a 1’30.751s and racked up 60 laps compared to Lecuona’s 36. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) was the lead BMW rider as he claimed fifth, just 0.030s back from the #97 directly ahead. Across his two bikes, the #45 completed 31 laps. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) rounded out the top sixth as he set a 1’30.801s and the #53 was also the first rider to venture out onto the wet track in the afternoon session, roughly an hour into it. In the wet afternoon running, Rabat racked up 45 laps – the most of anybody in the red-flagged session – with a best of 1’42.408s.

ROUNDING OUT THE FIELD: Gerloff, Mackenzie, Iannone and Norrodin

With the Racing – Ducati, GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team and Pata Prometeon Yamaha squads opting to test only on Friday, the WorldSBK field was down to 10 for Thursday’s action. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) claimed seventh with a 1’30.881s, exactly a tenth behind his teammate, with Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) in eighth and three tenths back from the American. The #29 was one of the last riders to head out on track this morning with just 32 laps completed, which included an off-track excursion at Turn 7 in the morning. The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda duo of Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin were ninth and tenth respectively.


In WorldSSP, five riders took to the track. Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team) led the way with a 1’32.619s to take top spot, with Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in second. Huertas had a technical issue in the afternoon which briefly brought out the red flags, with the #99 the only WorldSSP rider to test in the wet. Oncu in second had new material to test on his ZX-6R machine and his fastest time was a 1’33.925s. Kaito Toba (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda) was third with a 1’34.845s ahead of teammate Khairul Idham Bin Pawi in fourth. Ivan Goi – standing in at QJMOTOR Factory Race for Raffaele De Rosa – rounded out the WorldSSP field after setting a 1’37.422s.

The top six in WorldSBK from Day 1 at Cremona, click here for the morning results here and see the afternoon results here:

1. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) 1’29.976s, 76 laps

2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) +0.155s, 67 laps

3. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +0.534s, 36 laps

4. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +0.775s, 60 laps

5. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) +0.805s, 31 laps

6. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.825s, 121 laps

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