The Nottingham man is riding a Ryan Farquhar-built Kawasaki ER7 for Northern Ireland’s J McC Roofing Kawasaki team, and Cooper has made his intentions clear from the outset.
In mixed conditions after a heavy rain shower before the session got under way, he set the fastest lap at 102.771mph to lead Frenchman Pierre Yves Bian (VAS Engine Paton) by four seconds, with three-time winner Jeremy McWilliams in third on the IFS/Bayview Hotel Paton.
Former two-time British Superstock 1000 champion Cooper was the top newcomer in 2019 at the North West, where he finished as the runner-up in a wet Superstock race.
The 39-year-old will now be looking to go one better and claim his first major road racing success, when he clearly holds strong prospects in the Supertwin class.
Michael Rutter was fourth fastest on the ILR/Coverdale Paton ahead of Joe Loughlin (Paton) and Christian Elkin (Kawasaki).
Peter Hickman was seventh on his Aprilia RS660 ahead of Jamie Coward (Kawasaki), Michael Sweeney (Kawasaki) and Lee Johnston (Aprilia 660).
1 R Cooper (Kawasaki) 102.771mph
2 P Yves Bian (Paton) 101.465mph +4.044s
3 J McWilliams (Paton) 100.975mph +5.589s
4 M Rutter (Paton) 100.477mph +7.175s
5 J Loughlin (Paton) 100.374mph +7.505s
6 C Elkin (Kawasaki) 99.648mph +9.848s