Fabien Foret took just five laps to set the fastest time in the free practice session for the opening round of the World Supersport Championship in Qatar.
Onboard the new Yamaha R6, Foret shrugged off the high winds and sand on the track to finish the 45 minute session 1.85 seconds faster than his closest rival Andrew Pitt.
Third place went to an impressive looking Mark Aitchison onboard the BE1 Racing Triumph 675.
Top Brit was Hannspree Ten Kate Honda man Jonathan Rea in seventh spot. Rea had a lot to learn in his opening session have only ridden the Qatar track once before on the launch of the new Honda CBR1000RR at the end of last year.
Chris Walker claimed 11th spot onboard his Gil Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-6R. Having tested at the track last week, Walker was expecting the set-up of his ZX-6R to work but due to the high winds he struggled to get the bike dialled in.
Walker said: “The wind is so strong and it’s right in your face going down the front straight.
“We’ve got the bike geared to rev out in sixth in a slipstream but with the wind how it is I’m not even revving out fully in fifth. The track is also a bit slippery because of the sand and when you’re behind someone you can feel it hitting your neck, but it’s the same for everyone.”
Graeme Gowland had a baptism of fire having to learn the track in such treacherous conditions but still managed a very credible 19th place in the 36 strong field.
Craig Jones had a disastrous start to his 2008 campaign after two major oil leaks on both his bikes saw him only complete two flying laps onboard the Parkalgar Honda.
He ended the opening session in 27th place but remains confident that he will have both bikes up and running for the afternoons first qualifying session.
World Supersport free practice:
1 99 F. FORET FRA Yamaha World Supersport Yamaha YZF-R6 2'04.634
2 88 A. PITT AUS Hannspree Ten Kate Honda Honda CBR600RR 2'06.489
3 8 M. AITCHISON AUS Triumph Italia BE1 Racing Triumph 675 2'06.493
4 105 G. VIZZIELLO ITA Berry Racing Honda CBR600RR 2'06.791
5 26 J. LASCORZ ESP Glaner Motocard.com Honda CBR600RR 2'06.952
6 14 M. LAGRIVE FRA Intermoto Czech Honda CBR600RR 2'06.993
7 65 J. REA GBR Hannspree Ten Kate Honda Honda CBR600RR 2'07.067
8 69 G. NANNELLI ITA Hannspree Honda Althea Honda CBR600RR 2'07.207
9 55 M. ROCCOLI ITA Yamaha Lorenzini by Leoni Yamaha YZF-R6 2'07.252
10 44 D. SALOM ESP Yamaha Spain Yamaha YZF-R6 2'07.633
11 9 C. WALKER GBR Kawasaki Gil Motor Sport Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'07.659
12 38 G. LEBLANC FRA CRS Grand Prix Honda CBR600RR 2'07.694
13 47 I. CLEMENTI ITA Triumph Italia BE1 Racing Triumph 675 2'07.839
14 32 M. GIANSANTI ITA Berry Racing Honda CBR600RR 2'07.855
15 21 K. FUJIWARA JPN Kawasaki Gil Motor Sport Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'07.965
16 23 B. PARKES AUS Yamaha World Supersport Yamaha YZF-R6 2'08.068
17 31 V. KALLIO FIN Benjan Racing Team Honda CBR600RR 2'08.256
18 121 A. VINCENT FRA Gil Motor Sport - Solution F Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'08.306
19 81 G. GOWLAND GBR Benjan Racing Team Honda CBR600RR 2'08.612
20 25 J. BROOKES AUS Hannspree Stiggy Motors. Honda Honda CBR600RR 2'08.703 21 37 W.DE ANGELIS RSM Intermoto Czech Honda CBR600RR 2'09.670
22 77 B. VENEMAN NED Ressoftware Hoegee Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R600 2'09.706
23 51 S. BARRAGAN ESP Glaner Motocard.com Honda CBR600RR 2'10.879
24 17 M. PRAIA POR Parkalgar Racing Team Honda CBR600RR 2'10.910
25 61 A. ANTONELLI ITA Hannspree Honda Althea Honda CBR600RR 2'10.954
26 4 L. ALFONSI ITA PMS Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'11.017
27 18 C. JONES GBR Parkalgar Racing Team Honda CBR600RR 2'11.111
28 57 I. DIONISI ITA Triumph - SC Triumph 675 2'11.161
29 83 D. VAN KEYMEULEN BEL Ressoftware Hoegee Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R600 2'11.570 30 15 G. TALMACSI HUN Factory Racing Honda CBR600RR 2'11.792
31 72 A. MAGDA HUN Factory Racing Honda CBR600RR 2'12.242
32 127 R. HARMS DEN Hannspree Stiggy Motors. Honda Honda CBR600RR 2'13.253
33 24 G. MCCOY AUS Triumph - SC Triumph 675 2'15.014
34 199 D. DELL'OMO ITA HP Racing Team Honda CBR600RR 2'15.155
35 888 J. PEDRO SUBIRATS ESP Yamaha Spain Yamaha YZF-R6 2'15.194
36 75 L. NEDOG SLO CRS Grand Prix Honda CBR600RR 2'16.665