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Davide Giugliano has ended the first day of World Superbike action at Jerez with the fastest time in Q1, while championship leader Tom Sykes was seventh best.
The in-form Italian, who has scored top six finishes in seven of the last eight races, sprung to the top of the timesheets with five minutes remaining with a lap time of 1min 42.374secs.
That was enough to put the Althea Aprilia rider a comfortable three tenths clear of countryman Marco Melandri on the BMW, even if he remained half-a-second slower than FP1 pace setter Toni Elias on another satellite RSV4.
Of the title contenders, Eugene Laverty was highest-ranked in third position, with team-mate Sylvain Guintoli in fifth, while champion-elect Sykes – who comes into the final two races of 2013 with a 37 point lead – in seventh place.
Between them, local favourite Elias scored the fourth best this time, while Leon Camier put in a stellar late lap on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki to go sixth fastest, the Briton defying his foot injury to mix it with the front runners.
Echoing his strong performance in FP1, Mesaroli Racing's Lorenzo Lanzi was once again the fastest of the Ducati riders, despite riding last year's 1098R, the Italian out-pacing Chaz Davies and Jules Cluzel.
Outside the top ten, Xavi Fores and Ayrton Badovini followed in 11th and 12th, while Mark Aitchison was a fine 13th on the Pedercini Kawasaki to put himself in the fray to reach Superpole.
Similarly, series returnee Broc Parkes sits a comfortable 14th, with Leon Haslam on the cusp of the 'drop zone' in 15th as Honda struggled for form around the Spanish circuit.
Indeed, though Haslam is currently safe going into Q2, team-mate Michel Fabrizio is currently only in 17th position, the Italian provisionally out of contention with WSBK debutant Sylvain Barrier – who suffered technical issues late in the session -, Federico Sandi, Max Neukirchner and Vittorio Iannuzzo.