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Rea tops the timesheets on opening day at Aragon

Jonathan Rea has held on to top spot in Aragon after needing a final lap blast to edge out Marco Melandri despite a late rain shower threatening the end of FP2.
The defending World Superbike champion has continued his perfect start to 2017 off the back of four wins from four races plus two Superpoles by topping both free practice sessions on Friday at Motorland Aragon but was made to work for it by Racing Ducati's Melandri.

After Tom Sykes led the early running in the afternoon session a late rain shower looked like to would curtail any final qualifying simulations but the dark clouds relented just enough despite drops of rain being reported in all sectors. Initially Melandri jumped to the top with a 1m 50.161s but a final lap from Rea reclaimed the best time of the day by moving one-tenth quicker than the Italian in testing conditions.

With Sykes also improving late on to end the day third overall, Chaz Davies recovered from a nightmare FP1 in which he recorded just two timed laps due to an engine breakdown. The factory Ducati rider notched up 21 laps in total to rise to fourth and 0.321s off leader Rea heading into tomorrow's qualifying and race one at the Spanish track.

Behind the factory Kawasaki and Ducati riders, Alex Lowes was shuffled down to fifth on the combined times after failing to improve his best effort from FP1 but did keep ahead of home riders Xavi Fores and Jordi Torres, plus Pata Yamaha team-mate Michael van der Mark.

Milwaukee Aprilia enjoyed useful gains in FP2 to jump to P9 ahead of IodaRacing Aprilia's Leandro Mercado plus both Red Bull Honda riders. Laverty's gains shuffled Stefan Bradl out of an automatic berth into Superpole 2, while team-mate Nicky Hayden will also need to go through Superpole 1 having ended the day 12th.

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