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Reigning World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu has signalled his intentions to keep the pressure on current series leader Sam Lowes by setting a fierce pace in provisional qualifying at the Moscow Raceway.
Having been edged out by his main rival in FP1, Sofuoglu quickly set about usurping the Briton with an early charge to the top of the timesheets before improving the benchmark to 1min 38.088secs with more than half the session remaining.
That time would prove good enough for the Mahi Kawasaki rider to keep Lowes at bay, though the Yakhnich Yamaha man – having been almost half a second adrift for much of the session – would lower the gap to 0.152secs by the chequered flag.
Further back, Lowes's team-mate Vladimir Leonov continues to show well on home soil in third position, with Go Eleven Kawasaki's Andrea Antonelli and the impressive Alex Baldolini rounding out the top five, the latter showing well on the improving Suriano Suzuki GSX-R600.
Michael van der Mark set the Honda pace in sixth place, ahead of fellow CBR600RR rider Jack Kennedy, while Fabien Foret, MV Agusta front runner Roberto Rolfo and Kev Coghlan completed the provisional top ten positions.
Of the remaining British contingent, Christian Iddon made good gains between the sessions on his first visit to the Russian circuit, lapping with the 14th best time, while PTR Honda stand-in Luke Mossey was 25th best.