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Tom Sykes has completed the first day of World Superbike action at Donington Park with the fastest time, despite dropping his bike in the closing stages as rain returned.

With heavy clouds and high winds prompting intermittent showers throughout the session, the WSBK riders found a window of opportunity to get to within three seconds of the lap record, allowing Sykes to go quickest with a time of 1min 30.278secs.

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His effort would come just as the weather turned again, the subsequent moisture on the circuit causing the Kawasaki rider and Jules Cluzel to slide off at the Old Hairpin, both without consequence.

Behind Sykes, last year's race winner Jonathan Rea was second fastest, heading off Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli, while Davide Giugliano rounded out the top five.

Heading up the Suzuki challenge in sixth, Leon Camier finished ahead of Michel Fabrizio, Chaz Davies, Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz in what became a fairly tentative session.

Meanwhile, despite requiring help to reach his bike, Leon Haslam was still a respectable 14th fastest after completing eight laps, while fellow returnees Carlos Checa and Alexander Lundh were also back on track for Q1.

Looking ahead to Q2, Ayrton Badovini, Federico Sandi, Alexander Lundh and Vittorio Iannuzzo occupy the drop zone, but weather is expected to improve for Saturday and Sunday.