Eugene Laverty has given his slim World Supersport title hopes a boost by claiming his first pole position in the category at Portimao, although key rival Cal Crutchlow will start directly alongside him ahead of the season finale showdown.
The Parkalgar Honda man, resplendent in a new livery this weekend after securing backing from Vodafone, was the dominant force throughout the session, Laverty capitalising on the team's intimate knowledge of its Portimao base to at one stage be seven tenths quicker than the opposition.
Indeed, his early effort of 1min 44.836secs would stand all the way to the chequered flag, even if his rivals were able to get close to him by the end of the session.
Crutchlow, who needs just a tenth place finish this weekend to guarantee himself the title, proved Laverty's closest rival, less than a tenth behind in second position, the Briton being joined on the front row by Michele Pirro to improve Yamaha's chances of beating Honda to the manufacturers' crown.
Having set the pace in free practice, both Kenan Sofuoglu and Joan Lascorz – who head into the race disputing third in the standings – will start fourth and fifth, while Garry McCoy made it all four manufacturers on the front two rows by qualifying a strong sixth.
Mirroring the effort of his pole sitting team-mate, local favourite Miguel Praia qualified a career-best seventh to be the third highest placed Honda, ahead of Yamaha's Fabien Foret and counterparts Mark Aitchison and Barry Veneman.
Outside the top ten, Andrew Pitt will start his last race as defending Supersport champion from 11th position, while the British contingent of Chaz Davies, Michael Laverty, Sam Lowes and Kev Coghlan fill positions 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th on the grid respectively.