Troy Bayliss was delighted to ensure that he will complete his illustrious Superbike career with one more pole position following a weather determined Superpole in Portugal.
While he topped free practice in the wet yesterday, Bayliss was on the back foot heading into Superpole after managing only the 13th best time in final qualifying, meaning he would be fourth on track during the one-lap shootout.
However, the return of the rain provided a lifeline as the session was declared 'wet', ensuring experience in the tricky conditions would count for a lot.
Indeed, timing was equally crucial and as Bayliss laid down his 1min 58secs marker, the rain became harder and would ultimately prevent anyone from getting any closer than 2.5secs for the remainder of the session.
Although Bayliss admits the weekend has been 'strange' so far, he was delighted to be getting the best chance to go out on a high in the final two WSBK races of his life.
"The whole weekend has been strange and the weather has been a bit up and down. The track is dirty and wet too so it's not been easy. I'm very glad I went straight out and got a few good laps in very early at the start of the Superpole session.
“I was pretty happy with the wet setting and didn't need to go out again because it then started to rain more heavily half way through the session and no-one could match my time. I am happy to take my last ever Superpole; the 1098 has been working well as has the team, I have to thank them for all their hard work this weekend, and this season, without them I wouldn't have taken the title."
Ducati Xerox team-mate Michel Fabrizio, meanwhile, will start in a solid fifth place, but was ruing the decision to come into the pit-lane as the track reached its peak condition before returning just as the rain began falling again.
Up to that point, Fabrizio had been one of the few riders out on track from the very start, while the Italian was looking a solid bet for pole position in the dry after soaring to the fastest time in Q2.
"I am sorry I didn't do one more lap before coming back into the box because in doing so I would probably have put myself on the front row for tomorrow but anyway, I'm pretty happy. We have gone well all weekend, I was fastest in the qualifying sessions and with the unstable weather at least we know that we are set up pretty well for both the wet and the dry.
“My confidence has grown in each session and I'm feeling positive. I'd prefer a dry day tomorrow of course but I guess we have to wait and see."