Max Biaggi has kicked off the second-part of his much publicised World Superbike Championship comeback by setting the pace in first free practice at Sepang.

The 2010 and 2012 world champion - who, two years after beginning his retirement from the sport, has returned for a two-round stint at Misano and Sepang - hit the front early on with a lap of 2m 04.823secs and remained there all the way to the chequered flag.

A repeat performance to that of Misano when he was quickest out of the box too, though the result is certainly headline grabbing, it is worth noting that Biaggi arguably benefitted from a recent four day test at Sepang the previous week.

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Fresh from his double win at Laguna Seca, Chaz Davies was second fastest on the sole entered Aruba.it Ducati - following Davide Giugliano's season-ending injury -, ahead of the Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes respectively.

More than seven tenths off Biaggi, his regular Red Devils Roma Aprilia counterparts Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres were fifth and sixth best, while Suzuki and Honda maintained the two-by-two format in seventh and eighth, then ninth and tenth respectively.