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Max Biaggi has sent out a timely warning to his World Superbike Championship rival Marco Melandri by claiming only the fifth pole position of his career on BMW's home soil at the Nurburgring.

Coming into the weekend having reverted to the role of title chaser after losing the series lead to Melandri last time out in Russia, Biaggi has responded with a series of quick laps during free practice and provisional qualifying.

It's form that he continued to maintain during Superpole as he eased into the top eight shootout before literally shrugging off the attentions of Melandri to break the Nurburgring lap record for pole.

The first WSBK rider to break 1min 54secs, Biaggi will gain confidence from his performance, not least because it marks a rare appearance at the head of the grid, while he also had the satisfaction of out-pacing Melandri despite the BMW rider's attempts to follow him around on his fastest lap.

Even so, despite Biaggi's strong performance, Melandri's third place still marks one his best qualifying performances of the season, the Italian no doubt satisfied to be just six hundredths behind his key rival.

Between them on the grid will be outside title contender Tom Sykes, the Kawasaki rider squeezing into a small time gap between the two Italians after very nearly notching up an eighth pole position of the season.

Completing the front row, Eugene Laverty could play a role for Biaggi from fourth position on the grid, the Irishman faring far better than Melandri's team-mate Leon Haslam, the Briton down in 12th position after crashing on his first flying lap during SP2.

Having been quickest in Q2, Jonathan Rea could not replicate his form as he heads up row two aboard the Honda ahead of Carlos Checa, whose mistake on his fastest lap condemned him to sixth place.

Completing row two will be Leon Camier, who ensured all five manufacturers would be represented inside the top eight as he qualified a much-improved seventh for FIXI Crescent Suzuki, while Loris Baz had Biaggi to thank for getting him up to eighth place, the Frenchman repeatedly benefiting from his tow to scale the order having not once featured inside the top ten leading to Superpole.

Just missing the SP3 cut, Davide Giugliano will line up in ninth place, ahead of Chaz Davies, the ParkinGO MTC Aprilia rider dropping out in the second phase of Superpole just minutes after ending SP1 with the fastest time of all.

He starts ahead of Lorenzo Zanetti and the bruised Haslam, while Michel Fabrizio and John Hopkins head up row three in front of David Salom 15th, the Pedercini Kawasaki rider crashing at the start of his flying lap and failing to set a time.

Niccolo Canepa, meanwhile, did not take part in Superpole after breaking his tibia in a crash during FP2, the Italian's absence meaning 17th to 24th will also ascend a position on the grid for Sunday's races.