The opening free practice this morning started on a fully wet track, although the rain had eased shortly before pit lane opened. With 15 minutes of the session remaining dry patches had started to appear around the 4.411km track, but not a continuous dry line. Van der Mark made the most of the slightly improved conditions to set the fastest time on his first run and then improving further on his second and final run.
With continuous rain and a fully wet track for this afternoon's 50-minute free practice, van der Mark and Lowes knew that nobody was going to improve on their times from the morning and, with grip at the Magny-Cours track notoriously unpredictable, the two Pata Yamaha riders opted to err on the side of caution and sit out the session.GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Marco Melandri, was third fastest today, again with his time in the mixed conditions of this morning's free practice. The veteran Italian did participate in the second session but limited himself to just five laps to get a feel for the track in the wet.
Sandro Cortese, making his debut aboard a Superbike here in Magny-Cours was hoping for dry weather in which to learn the track, but he was left disappointed. The reigning Supersport World Champion was caught out by the unpredictability of the Magny-Cours circuit in the wet this afternoon, losing the front on the brakes into Turn 8 and sliding off the bike.
Cortese landed heavily on the shoulder injured in his Donington Park qualifying crash but was passed fit to continue after a precautionary check-up in the circuit medical centre.
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, was also one of the few to venture onto the circuit this afternoon, with the Frenchman completing nine laps in front of those spectators who'd braved the weather, before returning to the pit box. Baz ended the day fifth fastest overall with his time from this morning's opening free practice.