Michel Fabrizio denied Ben Spies a perfect first day at Misano by snatching an early pole position from him in the closing seconds of provisional qualifying.
Maintaining his current run of impressive form, Fabrizio leapt to the top spot with just two minutes remaining with a best time of 1min 37.016secs, taking pole position away from Spies, who had been charge for much of the session.
With lap times tumbling from morning practice, Fabrizio led an exceptionally close session with less than a second covering him down to Tom Sykes in 19th position.
Even so, each rider had been chasing Spies from 20 minutes into the session when he pumped in a lap of 1min 37.102secs, a time that was good enough to stand atop the timesheets until Fabrizio's last gasp effort demoted him to second place.
In addition to the closeness of the times, the session was also notable for having five different manufacturers inside the top five, with Yukio Kagayama shrugging off his broken ankle to go third quickest for Suzuki, Jonathan Rea continuing to lead Honda's charge in fourth and Broc Parkes slicing 2.4secs from his practice time to go an excellent fifth for Kawasaki.
As expected, the final minutes provided the majority of the action, with early pace setters Ryuichi Kiyonari, Carlos Checa and Noriyuki Haga losing out by dropping to sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, while Leon Haslam went in the opposite direction to make big gains and claim a provisional ninth on the grid.
Having run as high as fourth earlier on in the session, Troy Corser was still able to sneak his BMW into the top ten to get the better of Aprilia, whose charge was fronted by Shinya Nakano this time in 11th position.
Elsewhere, 2008 winner Ruben Xaus was 14th on the second BMW, just ahead of practice front runner Gregorio Lavilla, who slipped to 15th but remains comfortably inside the provisional Superpole places.
Of the remaining riders battling for the 20 available slots, currently Max Biaggi, Shane Byrne, Fonsi Nieto, Sykes and Jamie Hacking are just inside in 16th to 20th, with David Salom, newcomer Matthieu Lagrive and Luca Scassa looking to climb inside in 21st, 22nd and 23rd respectively.
John Hopkins, meanwhile, is enduring a steady return to action on the Stiggy Honda, currently down in 27th position of 29 riders.