Broc Parkes has kicked off the 2012 World Supersport Championship with his name at the top of the timesheets as he paced opening free practice at Phillip Island.

The local favourite, this year racing for Ten Kate Honda, surged to the front in the final ten minutes with a lap of 1min 34.538secs, already a few hundredths faster than he managed during pre-season testing earlier this week.

Less than a tenth separated him from former champion Fabien Foret on the Intermoto Step Kawasaki, though the Frenchman was a comfortable six tenths up on third place man Sam Lowes on the Bogdanka PTR Honda and DeltaFin Kawasaki rider Kenan Sofuoglu.

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Confirming his impressive results from testing, privateer Balazs Nemeth was a fine fifth on the Team Toth Honda, ahead of Jules Cluzel, who makes his WSS debut for PTR Honda this weekend.

WSS veteran Massimo Roccoli emerged seventh fastest on the Bike Service WTR Ten 10 Yamaha, ahead of PTR Honda's Ronan Quarmby, Suriano Triumph's Vittorio Iannuzzo and GoEleven Kawasaki rookie Joshua Day, who was a strong tenth despite suffering a crash with ten minutes of the session remaining.

Further back, it was a solid start to the season for Martin Jessopp, one of just two British riders competing in 2012, the former British Superbike rider going 21st best out of 28 riders competing in the 2012 opener.