Cal Crutchlow will start from his fifth consecutive World Supersport pole position at Magny-Cours after getting the better of Joan Lascorz.
Having dominated each round of late, Crutchlow was under more pressure than usual having crashed during first free practice, while Lascorz and Kenan Sofuoglu were also quickest in the second practice session.
Lascorz continued to set the pace in qualifying too, consistently lowering him lap times to even undercut Crutchlow's initial push for pole position with just five minutes remaining.
Nonetheless, Crutchlow's final effort for the top spot would prove decisive as he breached the 1min 41secs barrier to beat his Spanish rival by a fairly comfortable two tenths of a second.
Lascorz almost dropped to third behind Ten Kate Honda's Kenan Sofuoglu too, but did just enough to keep his rival for third in the overall standings at bay.
Better positioned on the grid than he was at Imola, Eugene Laverty's grabbed the final front row starting position in fourth. Even so, he faces a challenge to get on terms with his title rival after qualifying more than half a second adrift of the Yamaha rider.
Michele Pirro, the last rider other than Crutchlow to start on a WSS pole position, will start a strong fifth, despite crashing with ten minutes remaining and being bumped off the front row by Laverty.
He will start ahead of factory Yamaha rider Fabien Foret and Kawasaki's Katsuaki Fujiwara, while Australian trio Mark Aitchison, Andrew Pitt and Garry McCoy complete the top ten on their respective Althea, Ten Kate and BE1 Triumph machines.
Of the remaining British contingent, Chaz Davies will start his second WSS race in 15th for Triumph, ahead of countrymen Michael Laverty in 17th, Dan Linfoot in 20th, Kev Coghlan in 21st and Sam Lowes in 25th.