Saturday at Portimao literally started with a bang. Yes, because just a few seconds into FP3, Tom Sykes lost control of his Kawasaki between turns eight and nine, crashing to the ground. That wasn't all as his Ninja immediately caught fire and, coming very close to the Englishman, it burned his left forearm.
Sykes quickly got up but once he reached the medical centre, the news wasn't good: a double fracture of his left little finger, meaning #66 is unfit to continue and will require surgery (perhaps already this weekend, in Barcelona), as well as the aforementioned burn to his arm. Two very different moods in the Kawasaki camp, seeing as Jonathan Rea meanwhile continues to dominate.
The Northern Irishman stopped the clock on 1’42”054, lowering yesterday's time by six tenths. An impressive result, which also saw him close almost eight tenths ahead of Chaz Davies, his closest rival. Leon Camier continues to impress in third place, despite being more than a second back, followed by the Van Der Mark – Lowes Yamaha pair.
Behind them are two more team-mates, Aprilia's Laverty – Savadori, while the top ten is rounded out by Torres, Mercado and Bradl. The Honda rider is working hard to get back on top, and will also benefit from Davide Giugliano's help, as he'll be back on the bike for Monday's test session. Marco Melandri finishes outside of the top ten, after a modification to his Ducati failed to bring the desired result.