Cal Crutchlow has taken his fourth consecutive World Supersport pole position of the season at Monza after prevailing in a tight exchange with sparring partner Joan Lascorz.
Just as they had done in qualifying at Valencia and at Assen, Yamaha's Crutchlow and Kawasaki's Lascorz dominated proceedings throughout the session, but it was the British rider that would emerge with the upper hand.
The championship leader moved in front from the start of the session, his opening attempt of 1min 50.132secs keeping him on top until the mid-way point when Lascorz edged ahead by less than a tenth.
However, following a brief red flag period, Crutchlow lowered his time to 1min 49.706secs, a benchmark that Lascorz got close to, but couldn't overhaul.
It means Crutchlow starts from his fourth pole position in five World Supersport starts, while Lascorz also finds himself directly alongside for the third consecutive race.
Beyond the two main protagonists, Crutchlow's team-mate Fabien Foret was competitive, briefly splitting the pair before settling for the third best time, a tenth off the pole sitter. He will be joined on the front row by Losail and Assen winner Eugene Laverty, who continued his ascension up the timesheets by snatching fourth in the final minutes.
Despite missing more than twenty minutes of the session following a crash, Aitchison will still start fifth on the Althea Racing machine, while the Australian also has the honour of starting as the leading Honda representative.
Kenan Sofuoglu sits just behind in sixth, although he also crashed in the closing stages, while Ten Kate team-mate Andrew Pitt will be relieved to qualify seventh after languishing on the cusp of the top ten for much of the session.
Triumph put in a good showing too, Gianluca Nannelli starring on home ground to qualify eighth, while Garry McCoy was classified just behind him in ninth. Tenth for Katsuaki Fujiwara ensures the top ten has at least two representatives from Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda and Triumph.
Elsewhere, Suzuki's Barry Veneman will start down in 17th position on the Hoegee machine, while Stiggy Racing find themselves with plenty to do after Gianluca Vizziello and Anthony West could qualify no higher than 18th and 20th respectively.