Cal Crutchlow will start from his fourth consecutive World Supersport pole position at Imola, after denying Kenan Sofuoglu with his last gasp effort.
Crutchlow had looked in charge from the start of the qualifying session, save for an early spill, only for Sofuoglu to take the fight to the championship leader with ten minutes of the session remaining courtesy of a lap some two tenths quicker.
Nonetheless, while it took until Crutchlow's very final lap to reassert his authority, his lap time of 1min 50.680secs would put him six tenths clear of the Ten Kate Honda rider.
Between them, Crutchlow and Sofuoglu dominated proceedings, with fellow front row starters Joan Lascorz and Massimo Roccoli well over a second adrift of the pace setter. In addition, Crutchlow's searing pace means the three latter riders, Yannick Guerra, Jesco Gunther and Glenn Irwin, did not reach the required qualifying standard.
More significantly for the title fight, Eugene Laverty could only manage seventh on the grid, two seconds off Crutchlow's pace, while he will also have Garry McCoy and Mark Aitchison starting ahead of him on race day.
Brno winner Fabien Foret qualified in eighth place ahead of Andrew Pitt and Michele Pirro, while Chaz Davies will start his first World Supersport race for Triumph in a highly respectable 11th position after out pacing the likes of Katsuaki Fujiwara and Anthony West.