Carlos Checa remains the man to beat heading into the first Superpole of the 2011 World Superbike Championship season at Phillip Island as he topped his third consecutive session of the weekend.
Having established a three tenth margin over the competition in Q1, though Checa would not lower his marker during Q2, his effort of 1min 31.725 still put him top of the individual session.
Even so, the margin behind him was shortened to two tenths overall by Max Biaggi, who lifted himself into second position on the Aprilia, while Tom Sykes made the biggest gains between sessions as he catapulted from 13th to third on the Kawasaki.
With just over a second covering first down to 16th, there wasn't much to separate the field, this despite the likes of Sylvain Guintoli, Eugene Laverty and Jakub Smrz failing to better their Q1 efforts.
As such, Guintoli slipped from second to fourth, ahead of Jonathan Rea, Laverty, Leon Haslam, Smrz, Joan Lascorz and Michel Fabrizio. It also means all seven manufacturers are represented inside the top ten.
With just 16 riders being allowed to progress through to Superpole – a reduction of four compared with last year -, Q2 prompted a fierce battle in the mid-field after Ruben Xaus set a tough standard early on by leaping from the danger zone to qualify with the 14th best time.
As such, it was down to James Toseland, Leon Camier and Bryan Staring to dispute the 16th and final entry, with the trio each managing to occupy the spot during the final ten minutes of the session.
However, it was Toseland that would go on to win out by two tenths over Camier, who had a technical issue to contend with on top of his already bothersome glandular fever. The Aprilia rider will now start both races around the Australian circuit from 17th on the grid.
Just behind, Staring was confirmed in 18th, ahead of Superstock graduates Maxime Berger and Ayrton Badovini, while Staring's Pedercini team-mates Roberto Rolfo and Mark Aitchison brought up the rear in 21st and 22nd.