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A cool, slightly damp circuit was enough to keep things fairly static during second qualifying at Monza, with Marco Melandri remaining fastest ahead of this afternoon's Superpole session.

The BMW GoldBet rider led the way with a lap of 1min 42.883secs on the Friday, but while riders were beginning to get close to their best as the chequered flag loomed and track conditions improved, no-one could crack 1min 43secs in Q2.

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As such, the top four would remain static in the order of Melandri, Jonathan Rea, Sylvain Guintoli and Tom Sykes, though Guintoli would have the distinction of improving his time with the fastest lap of the Q2 session itself.

His Aprilia team-mate was another to improve as well, the Irishman lifting himself to fifth on the overall timesheets, ahead of Davide Giugliano and Michel Fabrizio, while Loris Baz, Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel continued to round out the top ten.

Compared with the top ten, the latter half of the field would prove more fluid, not least because Carlos Checa's withdrawal through injury had the effect of opening up another potential Superpole spot.

With Chaz Davies and Ayrton Badovini going safe in 11th and 12th, Pedercini Kawasaki substitute Fabrizio Lai would impress by qualifying in 13th place, ahead of Max Neukirchner, while Federico Sandi would just edge out Mark Aitchison for the final Superpole spot.

Behind Effenbert Liberty Ducati's Aitchison - who would miss out by just a tenth of a second -, Leon Haslam's replacement Kousuke Akiyoshi will start 17th, with Vittorio Iannuzzo in 18th.