Less than two weeks after Honda’s least competitive performance of the year at Magny-Cours, Lecuona showed signs of the Japanese manufacturer’s return to form, improving on the first two practice sessions of the weekend.
Most of the fastest times of the day were set in the morning session, with Lecuona himself setting his fastest time on the chart at the end of FP1. The Spanish rider lapped his home track in 1m41.396s to finish the day more than half a second clear of Rinaldi’s Ducati and reigning champion Toprak Razgatlioglu’s Yamaha.
Points leader Alvaro Bautista was fastest in the afternoon session, but his time was only good enough for fourth place on the overall time table – six tenths down on the Lecuona FP1 test.
Kawasaki star Jonathan Rea made a slight improvement between the two sessions to finish fifth, with Andrea Locatelli finishing just behind him on the second of the two works Yamahas.
Javi Vierge capped off a strong Honda performance in seventh place, a tenth of a second ahead of the factory Kawasaki of Alex Lowes.
Axel Bassani was again the best independent rider at Motocorsa Ducati, finishing ninth, half a second behind factory bike Rinaldi. A week before Barcelona, it was announced that Rinaldi would remain with the Ducati factory team next year, despite Bassani and Danilo Petrucci being linked with his place.
Rounding out the top 10 was BMW’s Scott Redding, narrowly edging out the GRT Yamaha of Garrett Gerloff and the Bonovo BMW of Eugene Laverty.
Gerloff will move to satellite team Bonovo next year to replace Laverty, who will retire from racing to take on a leadership role at the team.
Redding’s team-mate Michael van der Mark suffered a technical problem with his BMW which limited him to just two laps in FP1. He returned later in the afternoon, finishing 19th fastest with a time of 1m44.925s.
Former MotoGP rider Hafiz Syahrin missed Friday’s practice due to a respiratory infection and will be assessed on Saturday morning.
Barcelona WSBK – FP1 Results:
Barcelona WSBK – FP2 Results: