Troy Corser kicked off the eighth round of the World Superbike Championship at Misano by dominating the first free practice session of the weekend.

Fresh from arguably his best performance of the season at the Nurburgring, Corser hit the ground running very early on by topping the timesheets in the first ten minutes and pretty much holding station there for the entirety of the session.

Gradually lowering his best lap over the hour, Corser momentarily usurped in the final few minutes by Troy Bayliss, who popped ahead with the first lap of the session to dip below the 1min 38secs mark. Nonetheless, Corser's response was a stunning one, the Yamaha rider going almost half a second better with a lap of 1min 37.454secs.

Bayliss was second fastest, marginally ahead of Xerox Ducati team-mate Michel Fabrizio, the Italian impressing the home crowd by jumping up into third place at the chequered flag.

Newly announced BMW signing Ruben Xaus was another to feature constantly in the upper echelons of the order before settling for fourth fastest, ahead of Spanish counterpart and title contender Carlos Checa.

Nurburgring winner Noriyuki Haga left it late before producing his best lap to go sixth, ahead of Max Biaggi, who made it five Ducati's in the top eight positions. Lorenzo Lanzi looked strong in eighth having run as high as fourth, while Fonsi Nieto led the Suzuki charge in ninth, ahead of team-mate Max Neukirchner.

Elsewhere, Ayrton Badovini was surprisingly flying the flag for Kawasaki in 12th position, the Italian running in the top ten for much of the session before slipping down the order. Still, it was still enough to be ahead of home favourites PSG-1 Kawasaki, who are competing in a special blue and white livery in honour of the San Marino state this weekend.

Meanwhile, World Superbike newcomer Norino Brignola was 26th best on the Grillini Yamaha, while returnee Luca Morelli was 28th and slowest of all on the Alto Evolution Honda.