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Jonathan Rea had the honour of topping the first World Superbike Championship practice session to be held under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit as he led the way in FP1.

Though this weekend's 2014 season finale marks a return to the Qatari circuit following an absence of five years, this will be the first WSBK event to be held during night-time hours.

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With lap times coming down steadily over the course of the 45min session as riders became reacquainted with the Middle Eastern venue, Rea was never far from the top spot even before he snatched the initiative in the final seconds with a 1min 59.644secs lap on the PATA Honda.

MotoGP-bound Loris Baz slotted into second place to see off leading Suzuki rider Alex Lowes, who momentarily looked on course for the top spot after going quickest with two minutes remaining.

In the context of the title battle, Sylvain Guintoli - who starts the weekend 12 points behind Tom Sykes - drew first blood in fourth position, just four tenths off the top spot, while his Kawasaki rival was bumped down to ninth after a flurry of quick lap times in the closing stages.

Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri were amongst those to improve late on, lifting themselves to fifth and sixth positions, ahead of Toni Elias and Niccolo Canepa, the latter showing well as the best EVO rider having this week been confirmed as losing his ride with Althea Ducati for 2015.

Leon Haslam rounded out the top ten, ahead of the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, while EVO champion-elect David Salom, wildcarding Qatar Superbike Champion Alex Cudlin and Sylvain Barrier completed the top 15.