Eugene Laverty shrugged off an early accident to claim provisional pole position ahead of the eighth World Supersport round at Misano.
Having trailed Kenan Sofuoglu during free practice, both Laverty and his rival would hit the deck in the first ten minutes, but both would resume action to go first and fourth respectively by the end of the session.
Between the two title contenders was Michele Pirro, who pushed Laverty hard around his home circuit to end up less than a tenth adrift of the Parkalgar Honda rider.
The front runners will need to keep an eye out for local wild-card Roberto Tamburini, who went even better during Q1 to move into third place, ahead of Sofuoglu and only three tenths off the front.
Making it four Hondas inside the top five, Gino Rea was once more an impressive fifth best on the Intermoto entry, ahead of Joan Lascorz, the Spaniard seemingly unable to get up to speed his title rivals so far this weekend.
Having languished outside the top ten during free practice, Chaz Davies and David Salom lifted Triumph up to seventh and eighth, ahead of Massimo Roccoli – a former Supersport winner at Misano – and Matthieu Lagrive.
Elsewhere, the Italian wild-cards were making their presence felt in 14th with Alessandro Torcolacci and 17th with Alessio Palumbo. Meanwhile, female racer Paola Cazzola could only manage 24th best on her return to competition on a Yamaha.