Max Biaggi has taken only his second World Superbike pole position of the season after coming out on top of an unpredictable Superpole at the Nurburgring.

The Italian has maintained a fairly low profile so far this weekend, but would overcome Carlos Checa when it mattered as lap times tumbled throughout the deciding session.

Ending up with a new lap record of 1min 54.595secs - one of several new markers to be established during the three-phase session -, Biaggi would emerge three hundredths faster than Checa.

Related Articles

Checa had looked on course for pole position after becoming the first man on a Superbike to break into the 1min 54secs bracket in SP2, but while he went on to set another lap record with a 1min 54.621secs in SP3, Biaggi's response would prove even better.

Remarkably, this is only Biaggi's second pole position in World Superbikes and comes at a time when he can all-but-ensure the title is his at the end of the weekend.

Checa settled for second as Ducati, who had dominated in numbers through provisional qualifying, floundered with only Noriyuki Haga joining the Spaniard inside the top eight shootout.

An exciting Superpole that turned the formbook on its head, Sylvain Guintoli shrugged off a modest performance during free practice and provisional qualifying to take his first front row in World Superbikes.

Even better for the Frenchman, he headed into SP3 having topped SP2 with, what was at the time, a new record of 1min 54.755secs.

Third place had originally been occupied by James Toseland, but he was later demoted to eighth place following the session when he was judged to have left the pit lane for SP3 ten seconds too soon.

As such, Jonathan Rea will start in fourth place, ahead of ahead of Leon Haslam on the second Suzuki, while Haga and Tom Sykes make up sixth and seventh. It was a particularly impressive performance from Sykes after he stormed into SP3 having set the third quickest time in SP2.

With the likes of Toseland, Guintoli and Sykes pulling it out for Superpole, there were a number of disappointed parties come the end of the session, not least locals BMW, who endured a torrid session having threatened a pole position challenge in practice.

Indeed, having set a new lap record - and crashing - during the preceding practice session, Troy Corser would go on to fall again in Superpole - twice.

Falling at turn one in SP1, although Corser remounted in time to make it into SP2, another tumble at turn two would conspire to leave him in 14th position. Ruben Xaus fared little better as he also crashed during SP2, though he starts ahead in 11th.

Elsewhere, Michel Fabrizio heads row three in ninth place, ahead of five-time pole position winner Cal Crutchlow, the Yamaha rider enduring an unusually tough Saturday after getting edged out of contention.

Fellow Briton Shane Byrne fared even worse after a fall early on during SP1 left him with barely enough time for a single last gasp lap. While he did make it out on track again, it wasn't enough to get him beyond 17th position.