The Brit was languishing in second behind reigning champ, MAHI Racing’s Kenan Sofuoglu, but with only five seconds remaining Lowes stormed to the top of the timesheets with a 1’38.562 time, to out pace the Turkish rider by two hundredths of a second.
Sofuoglu looked like he would take the spoils in the first free practice, as he dominated the session, after setting some consistently fast lap times, but Lowes was never too far behind and the Kawasaki rider had to settle for his fastest lap of 1’38.583, and both were the only riders to lap in the 1’38’s all morning.
Rivamoto’s Jack Kennedy had a superb practice outing, as he finished the morning, third fastest with a 1’39.477, and the Dubliner was not outside the top five quickest times throughout the whole session.
Lowes’ Russian team-mate Vladimir Leonov was obviously comfortable out on his home track, but he was not able to keep up with the times set by Lowes, and finished fourth fastest with a 1’39.526.
Pata Honda’s Michael Van der Mark left it till the chequered flag came out to make his mark on the free practice timesheets, and leaped from the mid pack into fifth with a 1’39.586 lap, which meant team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti was demoted to sixth, followed by fellow Italians Team Goeleven’s Andrea Antonelli and Suriano Racing’s Alex Baldolini.
DMC-Lorenzini rider Kev Coghlan was as high as fourth in the timesheets with thirty minutes of the session remaining, but a crash soon after meant that the Scot had to work his way near the top once again. The rider managed to rejoin the session, and ended the morning just inside the top ten in ninth with a 1’39.738.
ParkinGO MV rider Christian Iddon finished the free practice in twentieth place, followed by fellow Brit and Motorpoint British Supersport rider Luke Mossey who ended the session 21st fastest, for his PTR Honda team.