Kenan Sofuoglu gave himself a welcome psychological boost ahead of the crucial penultimate World Supersport Championship event at Imola after dominating provisional qualifying.
The Turk can take an important stride towards the 2010 title if he finishes ahead of arch-rival Eugene Laverty this weekend, Sofuoglu sending out an immediate signal by securing the provisional top spot by nearly a second.
Laverty held down second position, but is some margin behind the Ten Kate Honda rider, while Michele Pirro and Katsuaki Fujiwara ended the first day of action marginally adrift in third and fourth.
Chaz Davies – who made his debut for Triumph at Imola last season – was fifth fastest, ahead of Broc Parkes, who was recovering from a problem that saw him skip much of free practice.
Local rider Massimo Roccoli was seventh fastest, ahead of Mark Aitchison, Gino Rea and David Salom.