The 2011 World Supersport Championship is officially underway with Fabien Foret taking first honours with the fastest lap time during opening free practice at Phillip Island.

The Frenchman, who was quickest overall at the end of the two-day pre-season test earlier this week, continued his fine form to emerge a comfortable four tenths up on Broc Parkes.

Though his lap time of 1min 34.251secs was slower than his best from the test, the Ten Kate Honda rider set the standard throughout the session to get his return to the Dutch-based team off to the best possible start.

As in testing, Kawasaki posed the WSS veteran's greatest threat with Parkes and team-mate David Salom in second and third positions, the pair separated from one another by just a tenth.

Sam Lowes also found himself on the fringe of the fight at the front as the only other man to break into the 1min 34secs bracket, while Yamaha pair Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies sandwiched Supersport rookie Florian Marino in fifth, sixth and seventh.

Gino Rea and James Ellison made it four British riders inside the top ten on their respective Hondas, the latter showing the key-hole surgery performed on his knee this week is holding up well. Ellison's PTR stablemate Miguel Praia finished off the top ten.

A session without major incident, save for the odd trip across the gravel for some riders, Robbin Harms finished up just outside the top ten in 11th, ahead of Ronan Quarmby on the best of the Suriano Triumphs and Ellison's PTR Bogdanka team-mate Pawel Szkopek.

In all, 26 riders will take part in this weekend's Phillip Island race - nine more that what started last year's race.



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