Scott Redding dialled up the pressure on WorldSBK Champion-elect Jonathan Rea just a little further by completing a sweep of Friday practice sessions at Estoril, a full six tenths faster than his title rival.
While Rea’s 59 point lead over Redding – with only 62 points available from this weekend’s finale – makes him a veritable shoo-in for a sixth world title, his Ducati rival nonetheless did what he needed to do to keep any faint hope alive by topping both FP1 and FP2.
Jumping to the top of the timesheets in the final seconds, Redding’s 1m 36.886secs lap was just enough to edge out Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu, who did his hopes of recovering third overall no harm by going second best.
Loris Baz set the early running by going quicker than Redding’s FP1 best almost straight away, only to lose track time with a spill at Turn 1. Nonetheless, he was still third best, with Rea keeping his powder dry with a quiet run to fourth overall.
Alex Lowes was fifth fastest on the second of the Kawasaki ZX-10RRs, ahead of Garrett Gerloff and Chaz Davies, the Welshman preparing for his final showing on the Ducati this weekend.
Jonas Folger was once again impressive on the wild-card MGM Bonovo Yamaha, the German out-pacing factory equivalent rider Michael van der Mark.
Leon Haslam rounded out the top ten for Honda, just ahead of Alvaro Bautista, who suffered yet another costly crash with a damaging tumble at Turn 7.
Tom Sykes led a muted BMW challenge in 12th position, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi – who replaces Davies at Aruba.it Ducati – down the order in 13th position.
Elsewhere, a shout out to Eric Granado who in only his second ever outing on the Honda CBR100RR-R is already half a second quicker than MIE Racing team-mate Takumi Takahashi.