Troy Corser will start four positions in front of Yamaha team-mate Noriyuki Haga ahead of their titanic tussle over who will be crowned as runner-up in this year's World Superbike Championship.
With both riders heading elsewhere in 2009 – Corser to BMW, Haga to Ducati -, there is pressure on Corser to win his first race for the Japanese manufacturer, while Haga is determined to maintain his record of never being beaten in the overall standings by a team-mate.
For the moment, Corser is best placed of the duo after a treacherous Superpole session saw him out on track at just about the right time to secure seventh on the grid. Even so, he knows there is more speed to come.
“I went out early but just not quite early enough. When I had started my lap it was pouring with rain around turn one. There were rivers running across the track at one stage. It was all down to how much risk you needed to take and I was hoping it would ease off, but it only stopped after the end of the Superpole session.
“Dry would be better for everybody tomorrow, and we tried some new things in the early session this morning, but we lost a bit of grip, so we may go back if we have to. I think maybe it was just the tyre choice we had at that time. We've had both wet and dry track time at least."
Haga, meanwhile, has struggled to adapt to the Portuguese circuit and has barely bothered the top ten all weekend. Nonetheless, he too is more confident in his package should the races be dry.
"We had less time to choose dry tyres than we would have wanted today but I found a good feeling in the final dry session, because this morning I didn't have great traction. We changed the suspension and things were much better, but unfortunately in Superpole it was raining. We have a good feeling on the rain tyres too, but I want it to be dry for the races."