The Pata Yamaha with Rizla riders started strongly in this afternoon's opening free practice, with van der Mark third and Lowes fourth as the sun started to set at the end of the 50-minute session. Van der Mark and Lowes were looking for further improvements under the floodlights in FP2 but, while both posted faster lap times, neither made the step forward they were expecting.
Both riders are confident of finding further improvements ahead of WorldSBK Race 1 tomorrow, in which they'll resume their battle for third place in the championship standings.
GRT Yamaha's Cortese posted the fifth fastest time in this afternoon's first free practice, with the reigning Supersport World Champion then going on to do a race simulation in this evening second session, which he finished in ninth place. While Cortese was happy with his opening day performance the same wasn't true for his teammate Marco Melandri, who once again struggled to find a good feeling with the bike and was frustrated to finish only 14th on combined times.
Baz was happy to suffer no pain from the hand he injured last time out in Argentina, but the Frenchman was still hampered today by the ribs bruised in the same crash, making it difficult for him to move freely on the bike. The Ten Kate Yamaha rider is confident, however, that his physical condition will be improved tomorrow after a further night's rest.