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Marco Melandri has sent out a warning signal to his World Superbike Championship rivals by going comfortably quickest at the end of provisional qualifying around Motorland Aragon.

The Italian rider had led the way for much of the 45-minute session, but while Max Biaggi would assume the top spot with ten minutes remaining, Melandri struck back in the final stages with a prevailing 1min 58.608secs.

Putting him almost four tenths ahead of his closest rival, the result capped a strong day for BMW as it held down four of the top seven positions in Q1.

FP1 pace setter Biaggi was second quickest, though the series leader might have been closer to his arch rival had he not taken a brief tumble on his final flying lap.

Tom Sykes kept Kawasaki in the upper echelons of the timesheets in third, though the British rider will be keen to find time in the final sector after repeatedly going 'purple' in the first three phases of the lap, only to fall short by the start-finish line.

Completing his most productive start to a race weekend this year, Eugene Laverty was fourth quickest on the second of the factory Aprilias, ahead of the BMW trio Leon Haslam, Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio.

Consolidating his excellent run to fourth in FP1, Chaz Davies was eighth fastest on the privateer ParkinGO MTC Aprilia, while Leon Camier and Carlos Checa rounded out the top ten, the latter barely raising Ducati smiles in tenth on a day that suggested the 1098R will struggle to match its rivals this weekend.

Indeed, just four of the seven strong Ducati contingent would make it into the top sixteen, with Davide Giugliano 11th, Niccolo Canepa 13th and Sylvain Guintoli in 15th position, while Lorenzo Zanetti, Jakub Smrz and Maxime Berger find themselves with work to do ahead of tomorrow's crucial Q2 session.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Rea made a brief appearance in the top ten aboard the Honda, but the Ulsterman - who is already at a disadvantage this weekend having only lapped the Aragon circuit for the first time in FP1 - would be forced to sit out the final 20 minutes of the session when his CBR1000RR developed technical gremlins. He would conclude the session 14th fastest.

Ahead of Q2, the riders with work to do overnight to ensure they make Superpole include Berger in 17th, followed respectively by Hiroshi Aoyama, Zanetti, Smrz, David Salom - who lost time with a fall - and Leandro Mercado, while Norino Brignola is currently without the required 107 per cent time in last position.