Factory Kawasaki star Tom Sykes stormed to the top of the time sheets to snatch provisional pole position on his ZX-10R in the second qualifying session at Imola.
The rejuvenated Brit edged out Effenbert Liberty Ducati's Sylvain Guintoli to take the top spot ahead of BMW's Leon Haslam in third.
Reigning world champion and Imola lap record holder Carlos Checa improved to fourth place on his Althea Ducati ahead of Marco Melandri on the second works BMW S1000RR.
Northern Ireland's Eugene Laverty made up ground on his Aprilia RSV4 to notch the sixth fastest time and outgun his team-mate and championship leader Max Biaggi, who was only 11th.
Laverty struggled with a hand injury at the opening round at Phillip Island last month, but appears to be showing the form many anticipated at Imola as he begins to make good headway.
In a good session for the Brits, Leon Camier took the Crescent Fixi Suzuki to seventh position on the time sheets. Camier had at one stage been running in third place before a minor crash thwarted his progress on the GSX-R1000.
Honda Racing's Jonathan Rea, who had been on the pace in the first qualifying session with the fifth best time, dropped down to 10th position on his CBR1000RR.
Czech rider Jakub Smrz, Friday's pace-setter, was unable to reproduce the same pace as he slipped down the order to eighth place on his Effenbert Liberty Ducati, one place ahead of Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz, who was also prominent in the qualifying order on Friday, when he finished the first session behind Smrz in second place.
American John Hopkins failed to improve on his time from Friday's session and misses Superpole after languishing in 19th place, with Chaz Davies also out of the Superpole equation after finishing qualifying two in 17th position.
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