Troy Bayliss has put himself in the perfect position to wrap up his third and final World Superbike title in front of Ducati's home fans on Sunday, by snatching Superpole at Vallelunga.
After Friday's rain, day two in Italy dawned bright and dry - albeit with a strong wind complicating conditions on the now slippery track. As a result, Troy took his factory 1098 to pole position for round twelve of 14 with a lap time over 0.7secs slower than he'd set last year on a 999.
Nevertheless, it was enough to edge out Yamaha Italia's Troy Corser by 0.124secs as the #11 advanced impressively forward from his eighth position at the end of second qualifying. Corser and team-mate Noriyuki Haga (tenth heading in to Superpole) maintained an R1 one-two until Bayliss finally joined them in lapping under the 1min 37secs mark.
Completing the front row will be local hero Max Biaggi, who improved from seventh to fourth for Sterilgarda Ducati on a day when team-mate Ruben Xaus - two places ahead of Biaggi going in to Superpole - lost the front through a right hand turn and was bundled roughly into a protective barrier.
Xaus was able to walk away, but his mistake means he will start just eleventh on the grid - one place ahead of Hannspree Ten Kate's Carlos Checa, who went out just before Xaus and also crashed after losing the front.
On form team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari was more successful, staying on two wheels to claim fifth position - one place lower than he'd started Superpole - while German Max Neukirchner will be disappointed to slip from second to sixth during the one lap dash.
Bayliss' Ducati Xerox team-mate Michel Fabrizio will start his home races from seventh position, with Yukio Kagayama completing row two on the second fastest Alstare GSX-R.
Bayliss will be crowned the 2008 World Superbike champion if he can maintain his current 101 point lead over second position during Sunday's two races, when he will also be looking to secure his 50th - and perhaps 51st - WSBK race victory.