Just behind, Phillip Island race winner Carlos Checa
was a modest 12th, two positions up on team-mate Shane Byrne, the Althea pair being split by Troy Corser
in the lead BMW entry.
Over at Kawasaki, Tom Sykes held down 15th position, but Chris Vermeulen would complete nothing more than two exploratory laps. The Australian says he intends to race this weekend, but has already admitted he is still recovering from injuries sustained in his crash at Phillip Island.
Of the newcomers, Makoto Tamada
was 20th fastest on his Reitwagen BMW debut, while Sheridan Morais was 23rd on the Echo CRS Honda.