Max Biaggi says he is happy to be back at the front of the field after qualifying on the front row of the grid for the second round of the World Superbike Championship in Portugal.

The Italian is yet to put the RSV-4 on pole position since joining Aprilia last season, but he looked in contention to do so around the Portimao circuit when he got to within 0.015secs of Cal Crutchlow's pole-winning effort at the third of four sectors..

However, a slow final section would eventually see Biaggi fall almost half a second adrift of the Yamaha rider by the chequered flag.

Nonetheless, Biaggi will still start second for the race, the former MotoGP racer pleased to be closer to the front after an indifferent weekend in Australia.

"We had a good race here last year so we know what our level would be. Now we are back where we should be, fighting with the best guys on the top.

"We did not make many changes, we just got the set-up to work as best we can. The layout of the track and the tarmac just means that our bike is working better."