With a fire delaying proceedings only a few minutes into the second free practice session, the ending was even more strange. With over twelve minutes left, after a drain at turn four was risking leaking on the track, the session was red flagged. The broken drain cover that caused the worries was unable to be repaired quickly and, after forty-five minutes, the remainder of the day's proceedings were called off.
This inconceivable turn of events – sewage bookending the session first with a delay to the start, then cutting it short, with a nearby fire joining in in-between – may have reduced the number of laps available to riders, but, comedy value of fecal puns aside, it won't change too much for the riders. They still have two sessions tomorrow, and the fastest man today, Jonathan Rea, reckons that lap times will drop tomorrow, once there is more rubber on the track. More warm weather is likely.
Tom Sykes was second-quickest, ahead of the Aprilias of Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli, who both made confidant noises at their team's home track. Could Melandri finally be getting the Aprilia to work for him?
In the morning session, Davide Giugliano set his fastest time on the colder track, while his teammate Chaz Davies set his faster in the warmer afternoon session. The Ducati riders are fifth and sixth fastest today, ahead of Leon Haslam in seventh.
Eugene Laverty could only manage three proper laps in the morning and six decent attempts in the afternoon, and was over a second off the provisional pole but he still feels that he can do well tomorrow, hopefully erasing his memories of Assen.
In Evo, Sylvain Barrier's replacement rider Leon Camier, hotly tipped for a replacement MotoGP ride replacing the injured Danilo Petrucci, was fastest on the BMW ahead of Ivan Goi on the Ducati.
Kenan Sofuoglu was the only Supersport rider under 1'52, beating Kev Coghlan to provisional pole, with the Hondas of Lorenzo Zanetti and last week's winner Michael Van Der Mark. Jules Cluzel missed out of the morning's session due to a technical issue, but he made up for lost time with the fifth fastest time of the day.
Hopefully, the drain cover will be completely fixed by tomorrow so we aren't inundated by puns about skid marks on turn four.