Unsurprisingly, former WorldSBK star Xavi Fores set the pace in the opening Bennetts British Superbike test at Portimao, taking an eight-tenth lead over Honda team-mate Andrew Irwin with Scott Redding - who suffered a crash - in third place.
Fores, who last raced at the Algarve track back in September so is more familiar with it than anyone else, set a 1’44.528 - only two seconds off Jonathan Rea lap record of 1’42.304 - before the lunch-break to open a big gap over Irwin on a 1’45.415.
The young Irishman tested at Portimao last year in WorldSSP but had split with the PTR team before he got around to racing there.
Be Wiser Ducati’s Redding hadn’t been at the track before but declared it ‘the dog’s bollocks’ last night after a cycle ride. The former MotoGP pushed his way up to third on his 27th lap of the morning, setting a 1’45.440 but then crashed unhurt at turn five, bringing out a brief red flag.
His lap was enough to demote the Oxford Ducati of Tommy Bridewell - another rider who knows the ins and out of Portimao - to fourth place. Bridewell had set a 1’45.637 before breaking for lunch.
The Devizes rider was then pushed back another place by Jason O’Halloran’s final lap of the morning, when he pedalled the McAMS Yamaha around to a 1’45.543 for fourth place.
Team-mate Taz Mackenzie ended up in sixth place, one ahead of Josh Elliott. The OMG Suzuki rider raced at Portimao some time ago in Stock 600 so knows which way it goes. He ended his morning on a 1’45.808.
Glenn Irwin, Luke Mossey and Claudio Corti completed the top ten with Danny Buchan, Matt Truelove and Ryan Vickers next along. Josh Brookes - who was expecting a softer rear spring to come in from Ohlins today - was 14th with Fraser Rogers in 15th.