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Sam Lowes's quest to give the Yakhnich Yamaha team a World Supersport victory around its home circuit got underway in fine fashion at the Moscow Raceway as the championship leader edged out Kenan Sofuoglu in FP1.
The Briton, currently heading the standings by 30 points, spent much the weekend opener chasing Sofuoglu on the timesheets, the Mahi Kawasaki rider repeatedly improving his fastest time over the course of the session.
However, though both riders would post significant improvements in the closing stages to put almost a second between themselves and the competition, Lowes would be the one to emerge ahead by two hundredths of a second.
Behind them, there were more smiles for the local contingent with Jack Kennedy third on the Russian-prepared RivaMoto Honda and home rider Vladimir Leonov – a podium winner in Moscow last season – fourth quickest.
Behind them, Michael van der Mark headed up Pata Honda's challenge in fifth place when a late improvement, nudged him ahead of sixth place team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti and Go Eleven Kawasak's Andrea Antonelli.
Alex Baldolini was eighth quickest on the improving Suriano Suzuki, heading off Fabien Foret and Kev Coghlan, the latter another rider competing with a Russian-backed team in Moscow this weekend.
A smaller grid than usual with no entry from Riccardo Russo, Mitchell Carr and Alex Schacht, the WSS grid has also seen a handful of rider changes, with Roberto Tamburini returning to action with former employers Lorini Honda, while American Kenny Noyes is riding the PTR Honda in place of the injured Sheridan Morais.
Also at PTR Honda, British standout Luke Mossey has been given the opportunity to ride a competitive machine as a substitute for the team's other injured rider, Luca Marconi.