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Fresh from his second World Superbike win of the season in the United States, Marco Melandri looks poised to carry his strong form to Misano as he set a fine pace in first free practice.

The local rider never dropped out of the top five throughout the 45-minute session but would make significant gains in the final stages aboard the BMW S1000RR to close with a lap of 1m 36.613secs.

Though it meant he commanded less than a tenth over last year's double Misano winner Carlos Checa, the pair were otherwise comfortably ahead of the chasing pack by four tenths of a second.

Having disputed the top spot with Checa for much of the session, Effenbert Liberty Ducati rider Sylvain Guintoli had to settle for third position, just ahead of fellow 1098R rider Niccolo Canepa, the Red Devils rider making an impressive start to his home race on the privateer twin-cylinder machine.

Also showing well early on was Leon Camier, the FIXI Crescent Suzuki rider featuring inside the top ten throughout the session before lifting himself to a peak of fifth position, ahead of Italian duo Ayrton Badovini and series leader Max Biaggi.

Jonathan Rea led the Honda charge in eighth place, while Pedercini's David Salom shrugged off a crash to emerge as the best of the Kawasaki contingent in ninth position. Indeed, it was indifferent start for the factory Kawasaki outfit with title contender Tom Sykes down in 13th, though Loris Baz will be content at being just a tenth behind his more experienced team-mate.

Elsewhere, it was also a tough opening for Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davies in 15th and 18th respectively, while wild-card rider Matteo Baiocco was 17th best and Grillini BMW's latest recruit Federico Sandi was 24th and last.