BMW has opened up the fourth round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Monza in dominant style by locking out four of the top five positions in first free practice.

The German manufacturer, which saw three of its riders lead at various stages of the opening race at Assen a fortnight ago, is still searching for its first win at WSBK level, but with Leon Haslam, Michel Fabrizio, Marco Melandri and Ayrton Badovini holding down first, second, third and fifth after FP1, hopes will rise that this could be the weekend it breaks its duck.

Indeed, the S1000RR looked strong from the off as both Melandri and Haslam held down the top spot for almost the entirety of the session, the Briton eventually getting the nod with a 1min 43.042secs lap time.

Fabrizio on the satellite Italia machine ran him close just seven thousandths of a second further back, while Melandri completed the BMW rout in third just a tenth adrift.

Indeed, the early pace of the BMW's will raise eyebrows down the paddock as Kawasaki's Tom Sykes was only rider to get within eight tenths of Haslam, the Briton preventing a 1-2-3-4 sweep by going fourth quickest ahead of Badovini.

Last year's double winner Eugene Laverty headed Aprilia's fairly distant charge in sixth, ahead of team-mate Max Biaggi in eighth, while Assen victory Jonathan Rea split them in seventh.

Anticipated to struggle this weekend, Ducati had one of its riders inside the top ten in the form of Niccolo Canepa, but its race winners Carlos Checa and Sylvain Guintoli could only manage 13th and 17th quickest respectively.

Further back, Suzuki endured a dismal start to its weekend with John Hopkins 15th and Leon Camier 18th, while newcomer Sergio Gadea on the second of the factory Kawasaki's was 6.4secs off the ultimate pace in 22nd position.

In terms of top speeds, Rea's Honda was quickest through the traps at 333.6km/h, with Fabrizio just behind on 332.5km/h. Biaggi and Checa came through 328km/h and 316.3km/h respectively.