Kenan Sofuoglu hit the ground running for the eighth round of the World Supersport Championship at Misano as he got the better of Eugene Laverty.
The pair enter the weekend split by just six points in the overall standings, but while Laverty led the session early on, it was Sofuoglu who emerged fastest by two tenths with a best effort of 1min 40.621secs.
The only other rider to join the two in the 1min 40secs bracket was Michele Pirro, the Italian – who scored a surprise pole position on a privateer Yamaha last season – just 16 hundredths slower than Laverty.
With a number of Italian-based wild-cards bulking the entry list up to 25 this weekend – the largest it has been all season -, Roberto Tamburini announced his arrival with an impressive run to the fourth place riding a Bike Service Yamaha.
However, the home favourite was almost a second behind Sofuoglu as a large disparity in times appeared down the field. Indeed, while Gino Rea put in his best start to a race weekend together in fifth place, he remained a second and a half off the leaders.
Nonetheless, the Briton out-paced title contender Joan Lascorz, the Spanaird going it alone this weekend for the Kawasaki team.
Supersport veterans Robbin Harms, Massimo Roccoli, Fabien Foret and Miguel Praia completed the top ten, while the top Triumph rider was David Salom in 11th.