Xavi Fores began life with the factory Ducati World Superbike squad in fine style by setting the fourth fastest time on Friday afternoon at Aragon.

The 29-year old turned heads by backing up temporary team-mate Chaz Davies for a Ducati one-two in Friday morning's first free practice session before placing inside the top four in the afternoon.

The reigning IDM Superbike champion admitted he was slightly surprised by his pace and believes the 1199 Panigale has made giant strides in this calendar year.

"It's been quite positive but we've just started," he told journalists on Friday evening. "The truth is the feeling today was a little better than we expected. We have to keep working tomorrow and see if we can improve.

I thought it was going to be a little more difficult with this bike. It's really improved a lot since I last rode it. We need to work to find more grip in the third sector but other than that we have done a good job.

I've only raced here two times. The last time was in 2013. But more than anything I like to race at home and a good result is important. I like this circuit a lot."

As Troy Bayliss announced his retirement from the class he won on three occasions after the inaugural Thai round of the series, Fores went to Misano for a two-day test with Davies. However, he claims he did little more than familiarise himself with the Panigale.

"We didn't find much. It was a lot of time since I was last on the bike. We just posted a lot of kilometres as I got used to the bike. We tested some different things, some different electronics settings but nothing special."

Looking ahead to Saturday's Superpole session, Fores admits he is eyeing a front row starting slot, although finding an ideal race set up is of greater importance.

"I'd like to start from the first row but I know Superpole will be complicated," he said. "I think the second row will be ok, or in the worst case the third. But the most important thing is to find a good rhythm ahead of the races."



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