Eugene Laverty kicked off latest round of the World Supersport Championship on the right note by claiming the fastest time in free practice at Kyalami.

The Irishman, a winner in South Africa last season, hit the front with five minutes of the session remaining to head off Kenan Sofuoglu and Katsuaki Fujiwara.

However, most eyes were on fourth place Ronan Quarmby, the local rider competing as a wild-card aboard the BikeFin SafeSky Honda CBR6000RR, which will receive technical input from Ten Kate Honda this weekend.

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The 19-year-old twice topped the timesheets before eventually settling for what remains an impressive fourth fastest time, half a second adrift of Laverty.

Just behind, Matthieu Lagrive was an encouraging fifth fastest on the best of the Triumphs, ahead of championship leader Joan Lascorz, Michele Pirro and Massimo Roccoli.

Quarmby's team-mate, Lance Isaacs, also showed well on the way to the ninth fastest time, ahead of the second fastest Triumph entry of Jason Di Salvo.

Further back, British pairing Chaz Davies and Gino Rea endured a slow start to their weekends down in 13th and 15th respectively.