Max Biaggi and Jakub Smrz grabbed the headlines during the second qualifying section after smashing the lap record at Losail.
The Aprilia and Guandalini Ducati riders managed respective times of 1min 57.836secs and 1min 57.871secs, putting them two tenths beneath Troy Corser's existing lap record and comfortably into the top eight shootout.
Weekend pace setter Ben Spies made it through in seventh place, behind Noriyuki Haga in fourth, although it took a quick final effort from the Japanese rider to sneak through.
They will be joined in the shootout by Tom Sykes, Shinya Nakano, Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne, the latter doing a fine job with his very final effort.
It means, Roberto Rolfo, Michel Fabrizio, Regis Laconi, Ryuichi Kiyonari – who picked himself up after a crash early on -, Broc Parkes, Yukio Kagayama, Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus will be forced to watch from the sidelines in ninth down to 16th on the grid.