Sam Lowes has begun his World Supersport weekend as he means to go on by topping first free practice at Imola, the tenth round of the 2011 season.

The Parkalgar Honda rider, who is yet to win a race this season, steadily lowered his best over the course of the session as track conditions improved throughout.

It was enough to give him a tenth over second place rider Broc Parkes, one of three riders still with a possible, albeit slim, chance of overhauling Chaz Davies in the fight for the 2011 WSS title this weekend.

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Florian Marino was a strong third on the best of the Ten Kate Hondas, ahead of local favourite Luca Scassa on the best of the ParkinGO Yamahas, and title-elect Davies.

Fabien Foret and David Salom, Davies's closest title contenders, were sixth and tenth respectively, the pair split by Robbin Harms, Alexander Lundh and Robetto Tamburini.

Elsewhere, it was a frustrating start to the weekend for Gino Rea after he completed just a lap and a half without setting a time.