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The returning Davide Giugliano made an impressive return to the World Superbike class as he placed second, behind team-mate Chaz Davies, in FP1 at Imola.

Making his first appearance since breaking his L1 and L2 vertebrae in a preseason test in Australia in February, Giugliano underscored his intentions as soon as his first flying lap by sitting inside the top four throughout the 45-minute session.

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As Davies set the fastest time with a 1m 48.056s lap five minutes before the chequered flag, Giugliano followed suit, with a time 0.2s slower than the Welshman.

Another late improver, Tom Sykes ended the session five hundredths back of the local favourite and one place ahead of team-mate Jonathan Rea. Championship leader Rea spent much of the session at the top of the timesheets as his early time initially put him a single thousandth clear of Sykes.

Leon Haslam was the only other man to get within one second of Davies' early marker while team-mate Jordi Torres (14th) found the going tough as he acclimatised to Imola's challenging crests and undulations.

Early indications suggest the top five will take some beating with the rest a full second in arrears. Sixth fastest David Salom headed Ayrton Badovini, competing in both he and his team's home event. Leon Camier put in another solid display with the eighth fastest time, a place ahead of Sylvain Guintoli.

Looking to put the misfortunes of Aragon and Assen behind him, Alex Lowes set the tenth best time, while Michel Fabrizio, deputising for the injured Nico Terol, pushed his Althea Ducati to eleventh place.

There were crashes for Tati Mercado (16th) on his first flying lap and Randy de Puniet (17th) at turn three but both riders were ok.

Fresh from seeing his Team Hero EBR outfit fold, Niccol? Canepa was a promising 15th in his first outing for Grillini Kawasaki.