Troy Bayliss will end his career with a 26th and final pole position after timing his lap to perfection in a rain-affected Superpole session around the new Portimao circuit in Portugal.
Although the poor weather conditions from free practice had disappeared for the earlier Supersport qualifying session, heavy rain returned to the Algarve area just as Superpole got underway, prompting officials to declare a 'free' session with a maximum of 12 laps each.
With a cool climate blighting the weekend so far, some riders weren't optimistic in the circuit ever drying up by the end of 50 minutes and promptly took the decision to get a few banked laps in early in the hope that the rain would eventually get worse.
Ruben Xaus and provisional pole sitter Michel Fabrizio were the first to temper the slippery surface, a situation arguably made worse by the layout's undulations that were creating rivers across the circuit.
After around ten minutes of steady action, during which Xaus lost the back-end of his Sterilgarda Ducati and came down at the final corner, a few more riders joined the track in the hope that more rain was on the way.
Chief amongst the 'gamblers' was Bayliss, who put his experience to good use as he became the first rider to slip beneath the magic 2mins marker with a lap of 1min 58.548secs.
He was quickly followed by Brits Cal Crutchlow and Jonathan Rea, while Max Biaggi, Leon Haslam and Troy Corser were also out to try and make an impression.
However, almost as soon as Bayliss had completed his lap, the heavens opened wider and more rain began to fall, creating visibility problems and making the surface even more treacherous.
Lap times soared as riders struggled to keep their bikes upright, creating big problems for many of the riders who had chosen against coming out early in favour saving their laps until later.