Sylvain Guintoli gave the home fans something to cheer about as he moved to the top of the timesheets ahead of Superpole at Magny-Cours.
The Frenchman, who is fighting to retain his ride with Suzuki Alstare into 2011, moved in front with just under ten minutes remaining with a 1min 38.333 before going marginally faster once more, the former MotoGP rider ending the session a tenth up on Michel Fabrizio.
The Ducati Xerox rider, who has been amongst the top three throughout the weekend, led a trio of Italians, ahead of newly crowned world champion Max Biaggi and Luca Scassa, who was once again showing good pace on the privateer Supersonic Ducati.
Leon Haslam had been the first rider to overhaul overnight pace setter Lorenzo Lanzi, but would slip to fifth place eventually, ahead of Jakub Smrz and the DFX Ducati rider.
Another close session with less than one second covering the top 16 riders, Ruben Xaus, Troy Corser and Cal Crutchlow completed the top ten.
With just 21 riders competing in France this weekend, only one rider – Roger Lee Hayden - will be unable to progress to Superpole.