CLICK HERE to view full FP1 times

Sylvain Guintoli has taken the honour of topping the first World Superbike Championship session to be held in Turkey as he headed up title rivals Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes in first free practice at Istanbul Park.

With the field granted an extended 90 minute FP1 session to get acclimatised to the former MotoGP and F1 venue, the top spot was contested between Melandri and Sykes for much of the time, with the former nosing ahead in the closing stages.

Related Articles

However, a final flying lap from Guintoli would see him haul the factory Aprilia into a commanding position at the head of the standings by the chequered flag, the Frenchman seven tenths quicker than his main rivals.

A firm favourite for honours this weekend having won two of the three MotoGP races to be held in Turkey, Melandri would end the session just up on Sykes, the trio in turn comfortably ahead of the chasing pack.

Elevated to team leader in the absence of Jonathan Rea this weekend, Leon Haslam was an encouraging fourth best on the PATA Honda, but it was fifth place man Toni Elias that arguably came away from FP1 as the session's standout performer.

Making his WSBK debut this weekend aboard the Red Devils Roma Aprilia having called time on his lengthy GP career, though the Spaniard has knowledge of the Turkish venue, this was still his first outing on the RSV4. Never outside the top ten and briefly even fastest at one stage, Elias's fifth best marks an impressive opener for the former Moto2 champion.

Behind him, Davide Giugliano made it three Aprilias inside the top six, ahead of Chaz Davies, leading Suzuki rider Jules Cluzel and Eugene Laverty.

However, the opening session would prove detrimental to a number of riders, in particular Leon Camier who crashed in early stages. Already carrying arm and neck injuries sustained in a fall last time out at the Nurburgring, Camier's latest accident has again consigned him to the medical centre.

Joining him there was Carlos Checa, the Spaniard coming down at the sweeping turn two right-hander, while fellow Ducati riders Max Neukirchner and Ayrton Badovini were also fallers during the session.

In addition, there was be several wayward moments at the tricky turn one left-hander as the riders found the limits of the circuit, including offs for Giugliano and Michel Fabrizio, the latter making his PATA Honda debut in place of the injured Rea this weekend.