Troy Corser denied Leon Haslam a surprise provisional pole position for the final round of the World Superbike Championship in Portugal after a last gasp effort wrestled the initiative off the British wild-card.
Although conditions weren't considerably better to those from morning practice, meaning a dry Q2 session tomorrow would ultimately decide the Superpole positions, most of the riders made an improvement over the session.
Corser's gain was the biggest though, his lap of 1min 55.791secs coming in the final few minutes as the track reached it peak conditions and made a switch to intermediate rubber.
His effort was enough to displace Haslam, who himself had edged ahead of Michel Fabrizio with less than ten minutes remaining as he looked to cause a stir amongst the WSBK regulars ahead of his return to the fold in 2009.
Fabrizio was in decent form to go third quickest, just ahead of fellow Ducati rider Ruben Xaus, while Cal Crutchlow, Chris Walker and Jonathan Rea completed a fantastic day for the British contingent – which has been largely missing from the 2008 grid – in fifth, sixth and seventh.
Rea, who had led the way before stopping on track with a technical problem, also did enough to emerge as the best of the Ten Kate trio, with Carlos Checa moving up to eighth, but Ryuichi Kiyonari dropping to 18th as he continues to recover from his broken collarbone.
Regis Laconi offered Kawasaki some much needed encouragement by popping into the top ten with the ninth best time, just ahead of practice pace setter Troy Bayliss, the new champion surprisingly failing to improve on his best attempt from the morning as he embarked on a relatively limited afternoon of running.
Having struggled for pace in practice, Noriyuki Haga, Fonsi Nieto, Max Neukirchner and Max Biaggi all leapt up from outside provisional Superpole positions to occupy 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th respectively, while the crucial top 16 was rounded out by Jakub Smrz and Ayrton Badovini.