Tom Sykes climbed from fourth to first during Saturday morning's second World Superbike qualifying session at Brno in the Czech Republic.
The Kawasaki star turned a 0.398s deficit to Ducati's Davide Giugliano after Friday qualifying into a 0.286s advantage over Giugliano's Althea team-mate and reigning champion Carlos Checa on Saturday, ahead of this afternoon's Superpole session.
Despite his faster morning form, Checa - fifth on Friday - remained fifth on the combined qualifying times.
Giugliano was one of several big names not to improve this morning, but his Friday time was just 0.009s slower than Sykes, who has been on pole for six of this year's previous eight rounds. Giugliano was third in Q2, 0.526s slower than Sykes.
BMW's Marco Melandri posted just a single flying lap this morning after a high speed off. Fortunately for the unhurt Italian, his Q1 time meant he qualified for Superpole with ease, sitting third on the combined qualifying timesheets.
Aprilia's Eugene Laverty suffered a similar dive down the timesheets, despite notching 14 laps. An impressive third in Friday qualifying, the Irishman was left 17th and 1.6s off the leading pace in Q2.
However Laverty's Friday lap kept him fourth in terms of combined times, just ahead of Checa.
Moving in the opposite direction to Laverty and Melandri was BMW Italia's Michel Fabrizio, a past performer at Brno who rose from eighth on Friday to fourth on Saturday.
The Italian heads into Superpole sixth on combined times, 0.590s from Sykes.
Home star Jakub Smrz has claimed consistent 6-5 places in the two 'timed' sessions so far, placing the Liberty Ducati rider seventh overall.
Championship leader Max Biaggi, a past Brno winner in WSBK and grand prix racing, improved from a Friday 14th to Saturday 6th on his Factory Aprilia. The Italian also halved his Q1 deficit of 1.2s to 0.6s on his way to eighth on combined times.
Pedercini's David Salom and Kawasaki's Loris Baz complete the combined qualifying top ten. BMW Italia's Ayrton Badovini and Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier follow in eleventh and twelfth.
Notable names further down the order are Honda's Jonathan Rea (15th and 12th in qualifying) and Melandri's BMW team-mate Leon Haslam (10th and 16th). However both Britons have made it into Superpole, in 14th and 15th respecively.
Countryman and fellow 2012 podium finisher Chaz Davies heads into Superpole 13th overall for ParkinGO Aprilia. John Hopkins (Crescent) is the final Superpole qualifier in 16th overall - and just 1.065s from Sykes!