Less than a week after he returned Honda to the top step of the podium at Imola, Jonathan Rea completed another milestone in Castrol Honda's swift return to prominence by claiming pole position at Magny-Cours.

Following a mid-season period in which Honda scored just a handful of World Superbike points and slumped to the bottom of the manufacturer's standings, Rea and the Ten Kate-run team have turned things around in little more than a week.

Indeed, pole position at Magny-Cours is only the second Rea has achieved in World Superbikes, while it is only the sixth pole position for Honda in the last five seasons.

Attributing his turn of form, which resulted in a lap record of 1min 37.490secs, to the changes applied to the CBR1000RR in free practice, Rea was thrilled to be fronting the grid for the two races.

"It was a strong lap but we've had a good base for most of the weekend and we knew we had to make an extra step to make Sunday more comfortable. The guys gave me a great bike in free practice this afternoon and transformed some things with the balance of the bike, which gave me more confidence to push. So I kind of expected to be somewhere near the front but I didn't expect the lap time to be that fast.

"We had a good Superpole 1 and that freed us up with the qualifiers for Superpole 2 and 3, so everything worked out perfectly. The big step we made in free practice means I can be quite consistent on my preferred race tyre, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow now. The team did a great job today, so I'd like to thank everyone."