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Marco Melandri has shown his and Aprilia's hand ahead of Superpole after topping the timesheets in third free practice with the fastest lap of the weekend.

With FP3 determining whom would progress directly to the pole position-determining SP2 session, as well as whom would contest SP1, Melandri left it late to surge to the top, his time of 1min 57.686secs improving the benchmark by almost three tenths.

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Tom Sykes maintained second position having been usurped by Melandri in the closing stages, while Chaz Davies, Loris Baz and Davide Giugliano joined the pair in being the only riders to break the 1min 58secs marker.

All five leading manufacturers have progressed through to SP2 automatically, with Sylvain Guintoli, Friday pace setter Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes, Leon Haslam and Eugene Laverty completing the top ten positions, the latter more than a second up on 11th place Niccolo Canepa.

Heading up the EVO class, Canepa was once again quickest on the Althea Ducati, ahead of local rider Toni Elias, but all eyes were on the swiftly improving Alstare Bimota team, with Ayrton Badovini going second in class in 13th position overall, putting the team in with a good shout of making SP2 later.

Better still, Badovini's team-mate Christian Iddon is also safely into Superpole after a big improvement saw him go 17th best, just behind Claudio Corti, Leon Camier and David Salom.

Jeremy Guarnoni, Sheridan Morais and Michel Fabrizio complete the Superpole participants in 18th, 19th and 20th respectively, leaving Fabien Foret, Luca Scassa, Alessandro Andreozzi, Imre Toth, Aaron Yates, Geoff May and Peter Sebestyen to fill firmed grid spots 21st to 27th.