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Jules Cluzel shrugged off a late crash to claim provisional World Supersport pole position around his home circuit of Magny-Cours, ahead of Broc Parkes and Fabien Foret.
The Frenchman, who sealed the runners-up spot in the 2012 standings with his win last time out at Portimao, took little time getting acquainted with his home venue as he rarely strayed far from the top of the timesheets.
Eventually getting his best down to 1min 41.886secs, it was enough to secure him the provisional top spot by four tenths of a second, despite watching the final five minutes from the sidelines when he crashed at turn two just seconds after countryman Valentin Debise suffered the same fate.
A late improvement saw Parkes split Cluzel and another local favourite Foret, while FP1 pace setter Sam Lowes had to make do with the fourth fastest after running off track on his final lap.
New champion Kenan Sofuoglu completed a fairly quiet day in fifth position, ahead of top Yamaha rider Massimo Roccoli – a front row starter at Magny-Cours last season – Sheridan Morais and Mathew Scholtz, while Ronan Quarmby and Jed Metcher completed the top ten on their respective PTR Honda and RivaMoto Yamaha machines.