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Sam Lowes wasted no time in resuming his place at the top of the timesheets at the Moscow Raceway as he dominated first free practice around the all-new Russian venue.
Having emerged fastest from pre-event testing earlier in the week, Lowes assumed the top spot after 15mins of the session getting underway and proceeded to lower his best to a 1min 38.396secs without once being headed. As a point of reference, Lowes managed a top time of 1min 38.548secs in testing.
Jules Cluzel ran the Bogdanka PTR Honda close in the closing stages as he moved to within a tenth of his rival, while both riders would find themselves a comfortable margin up on the remainder of the competition.
Championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu led that charge, albeit four tenths behind Lowes and as the only other rider to dip below 1min 39secs.
Ten Kate Honda's Broc Parkes was fourth fastest, closely followed by Sheridan Morais on the second of the Lorenzini Kawasakis and Ronan Quarmby on the next PTR Honda.
Bike Service rider Andrea Antonelli was the top Yamaha representative in seventh position, ahead of privateer Kawasaki racer Josh Day, Lorini Honda's Roberto Tamburini and Alex Baldolini on the best of the meagre Triumph contingent.
Still getting to grips with his MSD RN Kawasaki, Dan Linfoot was down in 24th after suffering a fall, while Imre Toth and Mathew Scholtz were other riders to become better acquainted with the Moscow Raceway turf.