Carlos Checa bounced back from a fall to set a fierce pace ahead of Superpole at Misano as he gained another psychological edge over Max Biaggi in Q2.
The Spaniard maintained a fairly low profile after taking a tumble at turn fourteen 20 minutes into the session, Checa allowing Biaggi to move ahead of him on the timesheets as the Italian became the first man to dip below 1min 36secs.
However, Checa was back out on track for the final minutes and duly reassumed the position with a 1min 35.609secs, a comfortable three tenths up on Biaggi.
Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio and Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz were others to fall during the session, though both were still good enough to claim third and fourth fastest, the latter impressing in particular having ended Q1 down in 16th position.
Things remained remarkably close throughout the field, however, with just half a second covering Lascorz in fourth down to 18th position. Indeed, with just 16 progressing to this afternoon's Superpole, tensions were high in the closing stages as the likes of Jonathan Rea, Sylvain Guintoli and Ruben Xaus all occupied positions in the drop zone during the final ten minutes.
In the end, all three would make marginal improvements that would put them safe, instead dumping Noriyuki Haga into 17th position, the Japanese rider paying the price for being one of only two riders that didn't improve on their Q1 time.
Still, Haga – and Barni Ducati wild-card Matteo Baiocco in 18th place – will still feel aggrieved to miss out on a Superpole slot by just 7 and 21 thousandths of a second respectively.
Joining them on the latter rows of the grid will be WSBK returnee Lorenzo Lanzi, who nonetheless put in a solid performance aboard the BMW Italia, Alessandro Polita, Roberto Rolfo, Chris Vermeulen and Mark Aitchison.
Meanwhile, Troy Corser did take part in the session following his high-side during Q1, though he didn't help his cause with a second accident at turn four.