2008 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix winner Stuart Easton set a new qualifying lap record on his way to provisional pole for this Saturday's 43rd Edition of the Far East Classic.
The 26-year-old lapped the street circuit in 2min 25.476sec to top the leaderboard by over 1.6sec from closest rival Michael Rutter, a six-time winner of the event.
Easton, riding the Hydrex IGT Honda 1000 he has raced so successfully in BSB this season, was ultra-cautious in the morning free practice due to the dusty condition of the track - but, eight hours later, he was in supreme form and his rivals could not match his pace.
36-year-old fellow Briton Rutter was riding a Kawasaki 1000 for the Paris-AXA racing squad for the first time and, despite his lack of practice on the machine, looked confident after being fastest in the morning session.
It was a good day for Kawasaki, with four machines on the top six, and Great Britain, with seven riders in the top ten.
30-year-old Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson (PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team) was third fastest, half a second behind Rutter, with 23-year-old Manxman Conor Cummins - also on a Paul Bird Motorsport machine - a quarter of a second slower in fourth place.
Veteran American Mike Barnes, on the third PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team entry was sixth fastest, a fifth of a second behind one of the surprises of the day; Rico Penzkofer on a factory BMW, a machine racing in Macau for the very first time.
Tiago Magalhaes, the 25-year-old Portuguese racer was fastest in the Supersport 600 class on an AG Racing Suzuki, two seconds quicker than local racer Joao Fernandes (Cubic Macau Racing Team Yamaha).
36-year-old Frenchman Amaury Baratin (Team of Paris-AXA Racing Triumph 675) was third best in the Supersport class.
The final qualifying session for Saturday's 43rd running of the 15-lap race will be held tomorrow (Friday).
Macau first qualifying - top 10:
1. Stuart Easton
GBR Hydrex IGT Honda 2min 25.476sec
2. Michael Rutter
GBR Team of Paris - AXA Racing +1.636sec
3. Ian Hutchinson
GBR PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team +2.098sec
4. Conor Cummins
IOM PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team +2.269sec
5. Rico Penzkofer
GER BMW Macau Racing Team +3.221sec
6. Mike Barnes
USA PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team +3.479sec
7. Stephen Thompson
GBR Robinson Concrete Honda +3.796sec
8. John McGuinness
GBR Hydrex IGT Honda 3.981sec
9. Gary Johnson
GBR AIM Racing 4.302sec
10. Jeremy Toye
USA Lee Cycles Racing 4.598sec