Jonathan Rea heads into Superpole for the third round of the World Superbike Championship at Assen as the man to beat after topping second qualification.

Jakub Smrz had looked on course to stay fastest as his Q1 effort of 1min 36.058secs held firm at the top of the aggregate timesheets, but Rea's final effort would slice two hundredths off that marker.

Smrz remained second in both the overall reckoning and in Q2 to put him in good shape for Superpole, ahead of Max Biaggi, who didn't improve but held onto third position.

Troy Corser progressed up to fourth place, ahead of Noriyuki Haga and Leon Haslam, while Marco Melandri and Michel Fabrizio slipped to seventh and eighth after failing to better their Q1 efforts.

Further back, all eyes were on the battle to get into the top sixteen, with several riders disputing the chance to progress to Superpole.

In the end, swift final laps for Sylvain Guintoli and Ayrton Badovini lifted them out of the drop zone into 15th and 16th, demoting Maxime Berger to 17th and Chris Vermeulen to 18th, the Australian nonetheless riding an entire session and missing the cut by just four tenths of a second.

Barry Veneman, Roberto Rolfo and Mark Aitchison will start 19th, 20th and 21st.

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