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Chaz Davies saved his best until the final moments of Friday afternoon's session as he stormed to the fastest time of the day during World Superbike free practice at Assen.

The Welshman, who gave the Ducati Panigale its debut win in the class less than a week ago, set a storming late pace of 1m 35.748s to head Tom Sykes by 0.320s. Indeed such was the Aruba.it Ducati rider's pace around Assen's fabulous free-flowing curves, his final time was 0.14s under Sykes' official lap record.

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Sykes may feel a touch frustrated after losing top spot having led the session for so long. On a handful of occasions the Kawasaki man was thwarted in his attempts to better his own time in the final sector.

World championship leader Jonathan Rea ran Sykes close for the eventual second spot, his fastest time just 0.12s in arrears of the Yorkshireman.

Backing up the all-British front three was Leon Haslam, who like Rea, is an admirer of Assen's layout. He headed local favourite, and, at times, the man most likely to challenge Sykes at the front of this session, Michael van der Mark.

Jordi Torres will welcome his afternoon improvement, having started the day in subdued fashion, as will Voltcom Crescent Suzuki's Alex Lowes. The Englishman and his team had been occupied with ironing out electronics issues at the start of the weekend but a late lap places him well inside the top ten.

Fifth in FP1, Sylvain Guintoli could do no better than eighth fastest. The reigning world champion's CBR1000RR was the fastest machine through the speed traps and he will have to comfort himself with his improvement of just under half a second between morning and afternoon.

Xavi Fores was ninth, one place ahead of Leon Camier. The Englishman was running as high as sixth with ten minutes remaining but was pushed back by the trio of Haslam, Torres and Lowes, who all improved late on.