BMW's Marco Melandri snuck in a last fast lap to top this morning's opening World Superbike free practice session at Misano, toppling reigning champion Carlos Checa and the little Italian is only three-tenths off Max Biaggi's lap record already.
Melandri and Checa were the only men to break the 1'37s barrier with 1'36.613 and 1'36.735 laps respectively with Sylvain Guintoli, who led with ten minutes left, shuffled down to third and half a second off the pace.
A flurry of fast times as the clock counted down saw ex-MotoGP man Nico Canepa put his Red Devils Ducati in third with Leon Camier following him across the line to take fifth after setting the pace early in the session. The Fixi Suzuki man is just six-tenths in arrears and two-tenths up on the sixth-placed Ayrton Badovini.
Former champion Max Biaggi was busted down to seventh from second place with his lap of 1'37.523 while Honda's Jonathan Rea's late charge was enough for eighth. David Salom, on the Pedercini Kawasaki, placed fourth with eight minutes to go but then crashed and slipped to ninth place. Leon Haslam rounds out the top ten.
Tom Sykes was the next best of the Brits in 13th place, one ahead of Michel Fabrizio who crashed unhurt, with Eugene Laverty next along in 15th and 1.3s slower than Melandri. Chaz Davies finished 18th and John Hopkins 20th.