Kenan Sofuoglu began his full-time return to the World Supersport Championship in style by producing the quickest lap in first free practice at Phillip Island.

The 2007 champion, back in the series after a disappointing season in Superbikes, showed how comfortable he is on the Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR by leading the way from the start of the session.

Although briefly bettered early on by Cal Crutchlow, Sofuoglu's initial lap of 1min 35.609secs kept him at the front for almost the session's entirety before the Turk sliced another tenth off his marker late on to confirm his position.

Crutchlow ran him closest for much of the session, the British rider making a strong first impression on the Yamaha, just two tenths adrift.

Local riders were well represented in the upper echelons of the order, although it was Mark Aitchison who was their top rider on the Althea Honda in third place. Countrymen Garry McCoy, Andrew Pitt and Anthony West were fourth, fifth and eighth quickest respectively.

Fabien Foret was another to have brief spell at the head of the timesheets before eventually dropping to sixth place, ahead of Kawasaki's leading rider Joan Lascorz in seventh position. Althea's Matthieu Lagrive and Suzuki's Barry Veneman completed the top ten, while Ireland's Eugene Laverty was just outside in 11th.

First qualifying follows later today.

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