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Jules Cluzel has opened up quickest for the World Supersport Championship's maiden foray to Sepang following first free practice around the Malaysian circuit.
An extended session to allow the field to acquaint itself with the circuit, which is hosting WSBK and WSS for the first time this weekend, Cluzel – who has more experience of Sepang than most courtesy of his GP experience – was quickest for much of the session before lap times began to improve in the closing stages.
With Kev Coghlan and Michael van der Mark both going fastest initially, it seemed Ratthapark Wilairot – another former GP racer – would get the nod when he pushed to the front, only for Cluzel to grab the initiative on the Yakhnich MV Agusta before the chequered flag.
Thai rider Wilairot remained second best on the Core PTR Honda, ahead of leading Kawasaki representative Florian Marino and championship leader van der Mark.
Recovering from an early off-track error, Kenan Sofuoglu ascended the order for fifth best on the MAHI Kawasaki, ahead of Coghlan, PJ Jacobsen, Lorenzo Zanetti, Raffaele de Rosa and local wild-card Zaqhwan Zaidi.