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A last gasp effort from Marco Melandri was enough for him to return to the top of the World Superbike Championship timesheets during FP3 in Jerez, ahead of countryman Davide Giugliano.

A much faster session than Friday's FP1 and FP2, the overnight benchmark was swiftly improved upon when FP3 got underway, with Tom Sykes, then Melandri leading the way before Giugliano sprung to the top with ten minutes remaining.

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Seemingly on course to end the session in front, Aprilia Racing's Melandri's final attempt of 1min 41.450secs would prove sufficient for him to emerge two tenths faster than the Ducati rider.

Similarly, late gains would see Toni Elias leapfrog his way from the bottom end of the top ten to third position, the Red Devils Roma Aprilia rider proving particularly competitive on home soil so far this weekend.

With just two tenths covering third place down to ninth, Eugene Laverty, Chaz Davies, Sylvain Guintoli, Alex Lowes, Sykes and Friday pace setter Loris Baz each booked their place into SP2 comfortably, while Jonathan Rea snatched the final available spot for PATA Honda, despite being more than a second off the ultimate pace.

His inclusion comes at the expense of team-mate Leon Haslam, who couldn't sustain his promising Friday pace - which has him as high as fourth - as he slipped back to 11th.

Heading up the EVO contingent, David Salom was 12th best on the factory assisted Kawasaki, ahead of Sylvain Barrier and Alessandroo Andreozzi, while Niccolo Canepa, Claudio Corti, Sheridan Morais, Bryan Staring, Jeremy Guarnoni and Imre Toth each booked their place into Superpole covering 14th to 20th

Behind them, Gabor Rizmayer, Erik Buell Racing duo Geoff May and Aaron Yates, along with Luca Scassa make are confirmed to start in 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th respectively.

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Hmm, suddenly Toni Elias seems to be up the sharp end.
Wouldn't be coming up towards the end of the season and contract time looming by any chance would it?