The substantial British World Superbike contingent got its Silverstone weekend off to a good start as Jonathan Rea led a local 1-2-3-4 during opening free practice.

While the fact that all seven full-time British riders breached the top ten by the end of the session would suggest home advantage, the reconfigured Silverstone circuit was nonetheless expected to level the playing field.

Not that it would stop Rea, James Toseland, Leon Haslam and Cal Crutchlow from dominating, the quartet locking out the top four position having enjoyed stints at the top of the timesheets throughout the hour.

Rea's leaderboard topping effort of 2mins 06.927secs would come right at the end of the session, his late jump indicative of a session in which the riders took time learning their way around the Arena layout.

Indeed, unusually for World Superbikes, the lap times were staggered at the end of the session, with more than two seconds covering the top 15.

Nonetheless, it remained a strong session for the local riders with Toseland just under two tenths behind Rea, while Haslam and Crutchlow were six and seven tenths back from the Northern Irishman.

The returning Troy Corser broke the trend in fifth position aboard the BMW, ahead of Althea Ducati duo Shane Byrne and Carlos Checa. Despite being hampered by a technical issue late on, Aprilia's Leon Camier and Kawasaki's Tom Sykes made it all seven full-time British riders inside the top ten in eighth and ninth.

Noriyuki Haga was tenth fastest, marginally ahead of Luca Scassa - who ran as high as fourth midway through the session -, Jakub Smrz and Michel Fabrizio, the Italian having to make steady gains through the hour having languished outside the top twenty for much of the time.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the session was championship leader Max Biaggi's lack of pace, the Italian lucky to grab 18th at the end of the session having been 21st heading into his very final lap. The Aprilia rider was 2.3secs off the pace.

Of the wild-card entrants, Josh Brookes - who has raced on the new Silverstone layout already - ran high early on before slipping to 15th when he pulled into the pit-lane, while his HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari could only manage 21st. Tommy Bridewell was 23rd fastest on the Tyco Honda.