Lucas Mahias took control on day one by finishing on top in both practice sessions as action got underway in the final round of the World Supersport Championship at the Losail International Circuit.

The GRT Yamaha rider finished second practice with a best of 2m 00.876s but a change announced to the result of the Portuguese round meant the Frenchman brought some added drama before the first session was fully underway.

The championship race tightened before a wheel had been turned in anger when the news arrived that 2017 Champion Mahias had been reinstated as Portimao race winner.

The change in result in turn demoted Sandro Cortese to sixth in that race, reducing his title lead to just five points - and creating a winner-takes-all face-off between himself and Jules Cluzel in the final round of the championship.

After Thursday’s action Cortese remains best placed to fight for the win with Kallio Racing, he seemed envigoured by the change to his title lead and kept pace with Mahias to claim second overall after a tussle for the top time saw him fall just 0.013s short after FP2.

The rookie title hopeful outpaced his main rival Cluzel (NRT); who could only manage a time good enough for fourth, he was over half a second slower than the German. This still showed an improvement from the first session where his time was only fifth best.

The duo were split by a strong run of laps from Randy Krummenacher (Bardahl Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) who impressed as the sun set on a still dusty, sandy track in FP1 and again in the grippier, faster FP2.

Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) survived a big moment in the first session to rally and jump up the order near to the close of the last to complete an all Yamaha top five.

Raffaele De Rosa (MV Augusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) posted the sixth best time after his FP2 run, with fellow Italian Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) close behind in seventh.

Hector Barbera (Kawasaki Pucetti Racing), the best of the Kawasaki riders, was closing in fast with the eighth best lap.

The British pair of Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) completed the top ten.

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