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Xavi Fores has stormed to the top of the times in the opening practice session in Thailand for the second round of the 2018 World Superbike championship.

The Barni Ducati rider produced a late flyer of 1m 33.960s to pull out over a quarter of a second on his front-running rivals on a ‘green’ Buriram circuit as the World Superbike grid got back up to speed one month on from the 2018 opener at Phillip Island.

Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty claimed second place on the times with a late lap to go 0.289s off of Fores with Jordi Torres impressing for MV Agusta in third place.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was shuffled into fourth place but remained ahead of Red Bull Honda’s Leon Camier with Alex Lowes leading the Pata Yamaha charge in sixth place.

World Superbike championship leader Marco Melandri enjoyed a measured start to his race weekend in Thailand with seventh on the timesheet for Racing Ducati with Loris Baz on the Althea BMW splitting the Italian from his teammate Chaz Davies as Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) rounded out the top ten and the provisional Superpole 2 members.

Triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea narrowly missed out in the opening session in 11th place, trailing Ramos by just 0.011s, with factory Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark also missing out in 12th place.