Bogdanka Honda rider Sam Lowes ended the opening day at Imola with the second fastest time and remains optimistic about the remainder of the weekend.
The 21-year-old set a best lap of 1.52.784 trailing South African Kawasaki rider Sheridan Morais by 0.236 seconds.
Speaking to MCN, Lowes said: “I enjoyed that! Phillip Island was disappointing for us so it’s good to be back on track and it’s feeling good. We reached a bit of a limit with the front forks when I upped the pace so we need to make a change for tomorrow, but other than that the bike is working well.
“I finished second last year despite having three crashes during the weekend and I’ve already gone faster than I did last year, so it’s all going to plan.”
Third place went to Ten Kate Honda man Broc Parkes with Fabien Foret, Roberto Tamburini and Jules Cluzel rounding out the top six.
Phillip Island race winner Kenan Sofuoglu ended the day 13th. The Turkish rider is riding injured after a testing crash which left him with a broken bone in his foot and a displaced bone in his knee.