As the riders undertook their first practice at the Pirelli Spanish Round it was Jonathan Rea who registered the fastest lap of the superb 4.423km Circuito de Jerez with an excellent late 1’40.291 time.
The triple World Champion really picked up the pace in the latter stages of FP1 on a resurfaced track and was 0.6s faster than closest challenger Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team). Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) was just 0.002s behind Lowes in third.
Eugene Laverty was fourth best, with Michael van der Mark and Roman Ramos both provisionally leading before ending up fifth and sixth respectively.
Chaz Davies, Jordi Torres, Tom Sykes and Lorenzo Savadori completed the top ten.
2014 World Champion Sylvain Guintoli was back in action getting to grips with the Kawasaki ZX-10RR, riding for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing at the final two rounds of the season, lapping 13th quickest in FP1 on his return to WorldSBK action.
Takumi Takahashi got a feel for the Jerez track on his Honda CBR1000RR in 19th place.
Raffaele de Rosa lost the front at turn one in the final minutes of the session but the Italian walked away unhurt. Ayrton Badovini had a copycat spill at the same turn shortly afterwards and was also soon back on his feet.
The action continues at the penultimate round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship in the south of Spain on Friday afternoon with the WorldSBK riders returning to the track for FP2 at 2.30pm local time.