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Broc Parkes has begun his quest for a first World Supersport Championship win of the season at Misano in fitting fashion as he set the pace in first free practice.

The Australian, who was victorious around the Italian venue in 2011 aboard the Provec Racing Kawasaki, has struggled to mount a title challenge on the Ten Kate Honda so far this season, but began his Misano weekend well by edging the competition in FP1.

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Sam Lowes ran him close just two hundredths of a second behind, but the Englishman - a first-time winner at Donington Park last month - did set himself back with a fall in the final minute.

Championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu was third quickest on the best of the DeltaFin Kawasakis, while burgeoning title contender Jules Cluzel opened up in fourth position aboard the PTR Honda around a circuit familiar from his GP days.

With 12 Italians set to line up on the grid this weekend - more than a third of the entire field -, Alex Baldolini led the tricolore charge in fifth position aboard the Suriano Triumph, just ahead of erstwhile championship leader Fabien Foret on the Intermoto Kawasaki.

Having split with Bike Service WTR Yamaha before the weekend, Massimo Roccoli was a notable seventh quickest on the Yakhnich YZF-R6, the Italian taking the place of the injured Vladimir Leonov this weekend.

Hungarian racer Imre Toth lifted himself to eighth in the closing stages, while Roberto Tamburini and Valentin Debise rounded out the top ten on their respective Lorini and SMS Hondas.

Elsewhere, former 125GP world champion Gabor Talmacsi made a solid WSS debut aboard the ProRace Honda, the Hungarian dicing in the top ten early on before slipping back to an eventual 21st position, 2.5secs off the ultimate pace.

Meanwhile, other last-minute changes on the grid this weekend include Marek Szkopek, who has been called up to replace injured older brother Pawel on the Bogdanka PTR Honda. The Pole was 28th best, just half a second behind PTR counterpart Martin Jessopp.