Tommy Hill gave himself the perfect opportunity to get his 2010 British Superbike title campaign off to a strong start after qualifying on pole position at Croft.
The Worx Crescent Suzuki rider will start from the front for the second event in a row after coming out on top at the end of the top ten shootout, Hill edging out fellow Suzuki rider Michael Laverty with a 1min 21.325secs lap.
Crucially for Hill, his closest rivals for the BSB title – Ryuichi Kiyonari and Josh Brookes – each had troublesome sessions, the pair down in tenth and 13th respectively. Brookes's failure to break into the top ten was down to disappointing pace, though Kiyonari ruined his chances with a fall on his one and only fast lap.
Nonetheless, Hill still faces a challenge from the outside title contenders of Laverty and Michael Rutter, both of whom join him on the front row of the grid.
They will be joined up front by James Ellison, who nudged out Dan Linfoot on the Motorpoint Yamaha, the youngster maintaining his strong run of form around Croft this weekend to qualify fifth.
Simon Andrews was the only Kawasaki rider to break into the top ten in sixth, ahead of Stuart Easton and BSB debutant Loris Baz, who put in a fine performance to qualify eighth – even if he also suffered a fall late on. Between Baz and Kiyonari, Peter Hickman was also a surprise inclusion in the shootout, the Ultimate Yamaha rider breaking into the top ten for the first time in his career.
Elsewhere, the sixth and final title fighter, Alastair Seeley, will start 11th, ahead of Tommy Bridewell and Brookes, while Hill's hopes of getting help from team-mate Yukio Kagayama received a blow as the Japanese rider could only manage 17th.
In the Evo category, Hudson Kennaugh qualified on pole position in 18th overall.