Van der Mark kept his home crowd entertained during FP1, as the only Dutch rider on the WorldSBK grid pushed to try and depose reigning world champion, Jonathan Rea, from the top of the timesheet. In the end the Pata Yamaha rider fell short by little more than a tenth of a second but was happy to close out the opening session in second place.
Changes to the to his R1 for the second 50-minute session this afternoon didn’t bring significant improvements, but after further adjustments van der Mark was able to consistently improve his lap times to finish in fifth position, and just 0.031s from the top spot.
Both free practice sessions for Lowes were hampered by crashes, with the Pata Yamaha rider losing the front into turn nine this morning and then suffering the same fate at turn one this afternoon on a rapidly deteriorating front tyre.
Despite the two crashes Lowes was satisfied with his consistency and is confident that he has the pace to improve on 10th position in FP3 tomorrow.
The cold conditions brought problems for WorldSBK rookie Cortese in FP1 this morning, with the reigning Supersport world champion unable to find a good feeling with his R1. Reverting back to the base set-up with which he secured solid results in the opening three rounds solved the issue, with Cortese bouncing back to finish FP2 eighth on the timesheet.
It was another difficult day for Melandri, with the GRT Yamaha rider again struggling to find a set-up on his R1 with which he was comfortable and that would allow him to rediscover the form that saw him finish on the podium at the opening round in Australia. Melandri and his crew will analyse the situation further overnight, in a bid to find an improvement ahead of FP3 tomorrow morning.