Troy Bayliss has taken the initiative in final qualifying for the tenth round of the World Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch as the more fancied runners rose to the fore when it mattered.

With the final results being made up of fast times from both today's session and yesterday's provisional qualifying, the arrival of rain, albeit light rain, will serve to provide the main talking point ahead of this afternoon's Superpole.

Indeed, with dark clouds gathering around the circuit, Bayliss wasted no time in stamping some authority after languishing outside the top ten in provisional qualifying, the championship leader becoming the first rider of the weekend to dip below the 1min 26secs mark with a lap of 1min 25.898secs.

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Immediately raising the bar for his rivals, Bayliss was only every briefly troubled by initial pole sitter Ryuichi Kiyonari, who regularly flattered to deceive as he went quicker and quicker in the first and second sectors, only to fall flat in the final one.

Still, while he couldn't get the better of Bayliss, second place heading into Superpole still marks easily Kiyonari's best qualifying performance of the season.

Beyond Bayliss, there was a sigh a relief coming from the Suzuki and Yamaha camps too as Max Neukirchner and Troy Corser emerged from almost nowhere to go third and fourth fastest.

Neukirchner was particularly impressive, the German's reputation for steadily building up to the weekend remaining true to form as he leapt up from 16th to third with just over 15 minutes of the session remaining.

Corser was also able to put himself in a considerably better position for Superpole by jumping up to fourth place from a provisional seventh. That was enough to place him ahead of team-mate Noriyuki Haga, as well as Yukio Kagayama and Max Biaggi, the trio failing to improve on their times from yesterday.

Indeed, their cause wasn't helped by the arrival of rain to the Kent circuit, something that threatens to mar the remainder of the day. Although just drizzle disrupted the final ten minutes of the session, it was enough to keep riders inside their garages to the chequered flag.

As such, Ruben Xaus, Fonsi Nieto and Tom Sykes were unable to build on eighth, ninth and tenth, even if all three riders improved their times.

Outside the top ten, Jakub Smrz and Gregorio Lavilla slipped from their promising early positions, although the latter rider will be pleased to make Superpole for the first time since Monza. They will be joined by privateer riders Lorenzo Lanzi and Karl Muggeridge on their respective independent Ducati and Honda machines.

They will also get the chance to make the most of the fact that Carlos Checa and Michel Fabrizio are very much out of position on where they should be. Although Checa's excuse will stem from the fact he has never visited Brands Hatch before, Fabrizio's struggles are a considerable surprise given he was third fastest in free practice yesterday. Still, he will get another chance to shine in Superpole, even if he will have to do it as the first rider out on track.

Outside the magical top sixteen, Kenan Sofuoglu just missed out in 17th, as did all four Kawasakis, with Team Pedercini's Ayrton Badovini managing to out-qualify the works-backed PSG machines in 21st place.

There was also disappointment for Chris Walker on the second Paul Bird Motorsport Honda as he could only manage 23rd position on the grid. Tristan Palmer, meanwhile, who travelled down to Brands Hatch last night as a late replacement for the injured Simon Andrews, made a fair debut, qualifying 28th out of the 31 riders on a bike he has never straddled before.