Leon Camier maintained his dominance during qualifying for the fourth round of the ViSK.com British Superbike Championship at Thruxton by securing his third consecutive pole position, although his feat is almost overshadowed by Gary Mason's remarkable front row performance.
The championship leader has been in imperious form from the second free practice session onwards and while his advantage over Airwaves Yamaha team-mate James Ellison wasn't quite as comprehensive as it was earlier in the day, there was rarely a doubt as to who would prevail.
Indeed, Camier was quickest through both knockout phases before immediately hitting the front with his opening lap during the top ten shootout. Going slightly quicker with his next effort, Camier would come away with a three tenth buffer back to Ellison.
Seeing off the expected threat from the Hydrex and HM Plant Honda teams to give the team their first 1-2 of the season, Ellison instead had to contend with attention from the unlikely Mason, whose lap of 1min 15.351secs would make him Honda's leading representative in third.
An outstanding performance for Mason on a two-year-old privateer bike, although he has shown consistent top ten race pace this year, this had been the first time he had even reached the shootout.
Joining him on the front row was another surprising figure in the form of 'super-sub' Michael Rutter, who was able to belie his lack of experience on the Worx Crescent Suzuki – and his dismal early season form on the Rob Mac Yamaha – to snare the fourth quickest time.
Three Hondas make up row two, with Glen Richards edging out the Hydrex pair of Karl Harris and Stuart Easton, neither rider able to quite match their practice pace when it mattered. Eighth for Ian Lowry prevented Josh Brookes from joining his counterparts on the second row, but the Australian was able to sneak ahead of Simon Andrews in the closing stages for ninth.
Prior to the shootout, Donington Park podium winner Chris Walker was a surprise casualty in Q2, both he and Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha team-mate Graeme Gowland only able to go 13th and 15th fastest. Instead, Jason O'Halloran showed a massive improvement over his practice performances to claim a season's best of 11th, while Julien Da Costa starts 12th.
John Laverty was another who will be disappointed to miss out on the top ten having shown impressive pace in practice, although he fared better than Buildbase Kawasaki team-mate Tristan Palmer, who is suspected to have suffered a shoulder injury following an accident at the start of Q1.