Karl Harris was the surprise pace setter during opening practice for the British Superbike season finale at Oulton Park, the ex-Hydrex Honda rider setting a rapid pace to beat Leon Camier.
Embarking on his second event with the SMT Honda team, Harris – who scored a double podium for Hydrex earlier in the season – was again on fine form around the Cheshire circuit, topping the timesheets from the start before proceeding to get faster.
At one stage seven tenths quicker than anyone else, although Camier recovered to dip into the 1min 36s, Harris' late effort would simply slice a further three tenths off the new champion's best time.
Still, Camier has reason to be pleased after putting almost a second between himself and third place rider Tommy Hill – Harris' replacement -, and a further three tenths up on fourth place Julien Da Costa.
Stuart Easton got his difficult quest to relieve James Ellison of second in the standings off to a positive start with the fifth best time, compared to his rival's seventh, the pair being split by Cup champion Gary Mason.
Ian Lowry was eighth quickest to be the best of the new-look Relentless Suzuki line-up, his team-mate Alastair Seeley ending up in 13th position as he acquaints himself with a full Superbike GSX-R1000.
Glen Richards and Simon Andrews completed the top ten, with Sylvain Guintoli and Ducati's Michael Rutter just outside.