Having declared his bike as 'the best it has ever been' at the beginning of the race weekend following Q1, Troy Corser put his strong start into practice by claiming provisional pole position heading into today's Superpole at Assen.

The first time BMW has topped the timesheets this season, Corser's late effort was not only enough to leapfrog erstwhile front runner Jakub Smrz but his time of 1min 35.621secs was almost four tenths up on his closest rival.

With most of the fast laps coming in the final ten minutes, Smrz also lowered his best to maintain a provisional front row spot, ahead of Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa, the Spaniard lifting himself to fourth.

Belying the fact this is his first visit to Assen this weekend, Leon Camier was a fine fifth quickest, some 11 positions up on Aprilia team-mate Max Biaggi.

Even so, things remained remarkably close in the mid-field, with six tenths covering Checa in fourth down to Tom Sykes in 18th.

Championship leader Leon Haslam was the only rider to fail to improve on his lap time from Q1, but held on to a strong sixth, just ahead of Noriyuki Haga, the Ducati rider seemingly getting his head around the revised Ruskenhoek chicane having struggled to 'understand' it during Friday.

Shane Byrne, Cal Crutchlow and Michel Fabrizio were split by just three hundredths of a second in eighth, ninth and tenth.

At the back of the field, there was disappointment for Pedercini Kawasaki as both of its riders, Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco, failed to make it through to Superpole. It meant that the returning Broc Parkes, who is competing with Echo CRS Honda for the first time this weekend, will live to fight another session after sneaking into 20th position.