Kawasaki got its 2011 World Supersport Championship campaign off to a good start as David Salom and Broc Parkes formed a 1-2 result during the first of six test sessions this week.
With cold, but dry, conditions greeting the 21 riders as they ventured out on track for the first official WSBK/WSS session of the year, the tentative opening laps would see Fabien Foret, Broc Parkes and David Salom assume their place at the front of the field.
However, following what has been an intensive off-season testing programme, it was little surprise to see both Salom and Parkes make the first significant inroads towards a representative fast lap time an hour into the 90-minute session.
Though Parkes looked set to claim the 'honour' of topping the first WSS session of 2011 with his effort of 1min 47.441secs – achieved with 20 minutes remaining -, ex-Triumph rider Salom would put himself on top in time for the chequered flag with a session best of 1min 41.134secs.
Keeping Parkes at bay by three tenths, it marks an impressive opening salvo for the Japanese manufacturer, which has stepped up its plans to succeed in Supersport and Superbike this year.
Even so, the headline performance of the session would prove that that of Luca Scassa and team-mate Chaz Davies, who dusted the cobwebs off the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R6 to set the third and fourth fastest times.
Coming just two days after BE1 Racing announced its surprise switch from Triumph to Yamaha machinery, Scassa would emerge just four tenths slower than Salom on what is his first outing aboard the R6. Even more impressive, this is the first time the 2009 title-winning bike has been ridden in anger in more than a year...
Davies followed up his new team-mate in fourth, albeit more than a second slower, but ahead of local favourite Miguel Praia, who popped up into fifth late on to set a good pace on the CBR600RR.
Fronting a plethora of Hondas stretching from fifth to 13th, Ten Kate returnee Foret ended up sixth after failing to improve on his early time and sophomore competitor Alexander Lundh wound up a strong seventh.
British pair Sam Lowes and Gino Rea were next up in eighth and ninth, while Rea's team-mate and ex-Moto2 rider Vladimir Ivanov, rounded out the top ten on the Step Racing machine. James Ellison was just outside in 11th in what is his outing aboard the PTR Bogdanka Honda.
In all, 21 of the proposed 29 WSS entries are testing Portugal, with notable absentees including Suriano Triumph and Lorenzini Kawasaki. Testing resumes this afternoon, as well as Thursday and Friday.