Jonathan Rea got the penultimate round of the World Supersport Championship off to a fine start as he grabbed provisional pole position at Magny-Cours.

Coming to France with renewed optimism after his championship leading Ten Kate team-mate fell during the last race in Italy, Rea was comfortably two tenths better than Broc Parkes on the Yamaha.

Also buoyed by the confirmation that he will be a Ten Kate Honda Superbike rider in 2009, Rea admits his test at the circuit last week was certainly helpful.

"There was a bit of rain which broke up the session, but we were on it pretty quickly. I went out soon after the rain cleared off and just built the lap times. It should be a bit warmer tomorrow - and faster - but the base speed should be 42s, and that's what we did.

"It just shows how beneficial our test here last week was, and we'll just chip away at some race runs tomorrow and build up for Sunday."

Behind Parkes was Suzuki's Barry Veneman, while home favourite Matthieu Lagrive followed on the Intermoto Czech Honda in fourth and Joan Lascorz was fifth.

Pitt, meanwhile, could only manage sixth after taking a tumble at the end of the session. Nonetheless, he too was pleased with the progress of the bike.

"Well, I guess the story will be that I crashed at the end of that session. But the fact is the bike felt really good and everything was pretty comfortable until that point. I came in and put in a new rear but lost the front on the next flying lap. It was at the first left-hander, so I think it was just a case of not having enough heat on that side of the front tyre."

Elsewhere, Didier Van Keymeulen was seventh, with Gianluca Nannelli, Joshua Brookes and Josh Hayes rounding out the top ten.

As for the other Brits, Graeme Gowland was a promising 17th best, with Chris Martin 23rd on the Gil Motorsport Kawasaki.

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