Alvaro Bautista put one hand on his sixth 250cc pole position of the season with a 1min 43.839secs lap of a wet Phillip Island circuit, taking him to the provisional top spot for the Australian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard was the dominant force in the soaking first qualifying session, session, the only rider to go round in under 1min 44secs.
Four-tenths of a second slower than his fellow countryman, Julian Simon continued his upturn in practice fortune with the second quickest lap of the run, with Lukas Pesek and series leader Marco Simoncelli completing the provisional front row.
Campetella Racing´s Fabrizio Lai had been sitting pretty at the top of the timing screen for a large portion of the session, but then suffered a huge hit into the protective barrier after keeping his bike up for the run-off on a left hander.
Saving himself from a similar fate was fifth placing Mika Kallio, who took evasive action on first a highside, then a collision with the tyre wall, followed by another attempt by his KTM machine to spit him off. All this happened in one incident, provoking some nervous moments in the Red Bull KTM garage.
Soon-to-be MotoGP rider Yuki Takahashi joins Lai and Kallio on the temporary second row, with Alex Debon completing the line. Lotus Aprilia rider Debon highsided and took an awkward landing during the session, a fate shared by Kallio´s teammate Hiroshi Aoyama.
First qualifying - Phillip Island:
1. Bautista (Aprilia) 1min 43.839secs
2. Simon (KTM) +0.384secs
3. Pesek (Aprilia) +0.405secs
4. Simoncelli (Gilera) +0.664secs
5. Lai (Gilera) +0.827secs
6. Kallio (KTM) +1.003secs
7. Takahashi (Honda) +1.046secs
8. Debon (Aprilia) +1.372secs
9. Locatelli (Gilera) +1.843secs
10. Aoyama (KTM) +1.953secs