Ten Kate Racing’s Dominique Aegerter left it till his final lap to secure his place at the head of the WorldSSP practice times, storming to a 1:42.271 to the day just 0.009 seconds clear of the chasing pack.
The Supersport riders kicked off free practice Friday and it was GMT 94 Yamaha’s Jules Cluzel who stormed to top honours in the opening 45-minute session in Argentina. Title contenders Lorenzo Baldassarri and Aegerter were seventh and ninth respectively.
However, as conditions heated up to a scorching 50-degree track temperature for the second practice session, normal service would resume for the World Champion, who had a strong afternoon run aboard his Yamaha R6.
Running inside the top three at the midway point of the afternoon’s running, the 32-year-returned to the track after a brief red flag and pipped Federico Caricasulo to Friday honours on his final flying lap, ending the day 0.009 seconds clear.
After topping the opening practice, Jules Cluzel enjoyed an equally as strong afternoon. The French rider, who will retire at the end of the season, led early on, but ultimately slipped back to fourth by the halfway stage. Nonetheless, the GMT94 Yamaha rider pushed on and improved to a 1:42.427, ending the day third on combined times, with team-mate Andy Verdoia and Evan Bros.WorldSSP Yamaha’s Peter Sebestyen featuring inside the top ten.
It was a tricky day for former Moto2 rider Lorenzo Baldassarri, who saw the Argentine venue for the first time on Friday morning. The Italian had a solid start to the weekend, wrapping up the first 45-minutes in seventh place, but struggled to match that performance as the pace picked up in the afternoon, eventually finishing 11th on combined times.
Glenn van Straalen led Ten Kate Racing Yamaha replacement rider Bradley Smith, who had a strong debut in the FIM Supersport World Championship in 13th. Marcel Brenner and MS Racing Yamaha’s Ondrej Vostatek were 19th and 20th while Patrick Hobelsberger and Unai Orradre’s replacement Baris Sahin, who suffered a heavy fall bringing out the red flag in practice two, completed the field.
The Yamaha riders will be back on track to do battle on Saturday, kicking off with Superpole at 11.15 local time. The opening race of the weekend will take place at 13.30.
For full practice times, click here