Eugene Laverty came out on top during opening practice ahead of this weekend's fifth round of the 2010 World Supersport Championship at Monza, the Assen race winner setting a strong pace.

Eager to maintain the momentum gained from his dominant victory in the Netherlands, Laverty sparred with Ten Kate Honda's Michele Pirro throughout the 45 minute session but would eventually emerge on top by two tenths of a second.

Local favourite Pirro was, in turn, four tenths quicker than his former Supersport team Loreznini, this year being helmed by Fabien Foret, the Frenchman benefitting from having competed in last week's CIV Supersport race to post the third best lap.

Kenan Sofuoglu was fourth fastest, but was notable for being 1.5secs off pace setter Laverty, while championship leader Joan Lascorz fared even worse in sixth position, almost two seconds back.

Indeed, big gaps would be a theme throughout the leaderboard, with former WSS frontrunner Gianluca Vizziello, returning this weekend on a privateer Honda, reaching the top ten despite being 2.5secs off the ultimate pace.

Elsewhere, Chaz Davies suffered a fall but was quick enough for ninth, while Gino Rea was 11th best as he gets to grips with Monza on a Supersport bike for the first time.