The sun shines on Laguna Seca, the scene of probably one of the most crucial rounds of the 2019 Superbike Championship. The duel between Jonathan Rea and Alvaro Bautista has drastically changed the plot in the last few rounds, in favor of the number one who, on the bumpy Californian track, sees another opportunity to attack his Spanish rival, as confirmed in the FP1.
The rider from Northern Ireland immediately reiterated his state of grace, conquering the first place with authority. 1'23''440 was his time lap, registered almost halfway through and unapproachable for all his opponents. Just think that Tom Sykes, second in the rankings on his BMW, collected half a second ahead of his former teammate.
And Bautista? The Spanish rider used his first practice session, firstly, to gain confidence with the track, which he hadn't been on since 2013, then obviously with his Panigale V4. The result was a 7th place, with one second from his rival for the title. Alvaro had warned about the adversities at Laguna Seca, and he seems to have been right, so far.
Returning to the rankings, a third place for Toprak Razgatlioglu, almost eight tenths behind the leader, followed by Alex Lowes' Yamaha, one of the riders who has to convince his team to confirm him for next season.
Behind the English rider, teammate Michael Van Der Mark and Chaz Davies (+0.860), who is looking for grounds in California to be able to show his skills, which were often hidden this season. After Baustista in 7th, the top ten ranking finishes with Loris Baz, the man of the moment Marco Melandri, and Leon Haslam, very far from his teammate and only capable of climbing back up in the ranking in the second half.
An important round for Eugene Laverty, 14th who's seeking a suitable physical form to race in the GP, while Alessandro Delbianco and Michael Rinaldi close the round 16th and 17th, followed by wild card JD Beach and Markus Reiterberger, who had problems with his BMW.