Kawasaki's Tom Sykes will head into Saturday afternoon's Superpole on a high after topping the final World Superbike free practice session in Portimao.

Sykes hit the front of the timesheets early on, posting the only lap of the session in the 1 minute 42s, and was clearly relieved after mechanical issues sidelined him for most of the Saturday morning session.

A light shower had peppered the circuit with rain during the earlier Superstock 600 session and there were still traces of damp patches when the Superbike practice started. Although the organisers announced it would be a wet practice session, the strong winds that have affected many riders this weekend soon dried the track.

Aprilia's Eugene Laverty ended 0.148 seconds behind Sykes, having finished in second position for the past three sessions.

Loris Baz was the biggest mover of the session, bettering his previous best by four tenths of a second. He ended a much-improved third despite the varying conditions.

Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli followed in fourth and fifth positions. Jonathan Rea, fastest in both qualifying sessions so far, finished sixth, seven tenths down on his best time from Saturday morning.

Like Sykes and Baz, Leon Camier posted his best time of the weekend to finish seventh, over six tenths back of the Kawasaki man. The Ducati pairing of Badovini and Checa were eighth and ninth, with Jules Cluzel rounding out the top ten.

Chaz Davies escaped unharmed from a nasty spill coming downhill after exiting turn eight towards the end of the session. As he crested the brow his BMW was temporarily airborne and landed with the wheels out of line.

Although he was spat over the top he managed to walk, albeit slowly, back to the pits. He ended the session in 11th place.

By Neil Morrison