Eugene Laverty will start the second round of the World Supersport Championship from pole position after fending off the attentions of Kenan Sofuoglu at Portimao.

Laverty, who won last year's race around the Portuguese circuit, was embroiled in a session-long exchange with his Honda counterpart, the pair swapping the top spot on five occasions before the Irishman eventually edged ahead.

Posting a best time of 1min 45.169secs, Laverty's cause was aided by Sofuoglu falling on his very final lap, although Turk was still comfortably second fastest.

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Indeed, Laverty and Sofuoglu dominated proceedings over the course of the 45 minute session, with Michele Pirro and Joan Lascorz forced to dispute third position amongst themselves, more than half a second behind their rivals.

Eventually, Pirro secured third over the Kawasaki man, Lascorz in turn just fending off Fabien Foret on the privateer ZX-6R after the Frenchman launched himself up the timesheets during the closing stages.

Having held a spot on the front row after provisional qualifying, Chaz Davies was forced to settle for sixth on the grid, ahead of Katsuaki Fujiwara and Miguel Praia, while the Briton's Triumph team-mates - David Salom and Jason Di Salvo - completed the top ten.

Elsewhere, Gino Rea will start in 12th position, ahead of experienced Intermoto Czech Honda team-mate Massimo Roccoli, while wild-card Briton Max Hunt will start 19th.