Eugene Laverty was second fastest as free practice got underway at Misano on Friday.
Laverty, who claimed a maiden rostrum for Shaun Muir’s team with a solid third place finish in race two at Laguna Seca in the previous round, carried his form into day one at the Marco Simoncelli circuit, where team-mate Lorenzo Savadori was quickest overall on the combined times, 0.440s ahead of the Toomebridge man after the first two free practice sessions.
FP3 was rained off, leaving Savadori and Laverty at the top of the combined times, with reigning champion Jonathan Rea – a double winner at Laguna – third quickest, only 0.001s behind Laverty.
Laverty said: “It was a pretty strong day for us. At the end of FP2 we did a strong lap to go second without much effort, and the lap times were consistently quick.
“It was a surprise because the bike was difficult here last year. I knew it would be better but I wasn't sure we would be able to match our pace in Laguna Seca, so far we have which is encouraging.
“Missing the third session because of the weather isn't really an issue for us, the bike felt good at the end of FP2 so we don't have to catch up or make lots of changes,” he added.
“The main area to work on is corner entry on the front tyre which I don't want to push too hard, but we have FP4 and then a good chance in Superpole.”