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Jules Cluzel wasted no time in getting acquainted with the Portimao circuit as he swept to the top of the timesheets during first World Supersport free practice around the Portuguese venue.
Now the only rider capable of denying Kenan Sofuoglu title glory with two rounds of the season remaining, Cluzel rarely deviated from the top ten over the course of the session before pumping in a 1min 46.283secs lap during the closing seconds to go fastest.
It was good enough to establish a sizeable half second advantage over PTR counterpart Sam Lowes on the Bogdanka-backed Honda CBR600RR, while third place Fabien Foret and fourth place Broc Parkes emerged as the only other riders able to break into the 1min 46secs.
As is becoming customary this season, Sofuoglu opted for a relatively conservative start to his weekend in fifth position as he sets his sights on the mere fourth place finish he needs to be crowned WSS champion for a third time.
Behind him, Florian Marino headed up a strong effort by the improving MSD RN Kawasaki team as he posted the sixth fastest time, the Frenchman's team-mate Dan Linfoot confirming the gains made by joining him in the top ten in tenth position.
Embarking on his second event with the PATA by Martini Yamaha team, Massimo Roccoli was a fine seventh best, ahead of Lorini Honda's Roberto Tamburini, Suriano Triumph's Alex Baldolini and Linfoot.