Sylvain Barrier has underlined his credentials as a favourite for the 2012 FIM Superstock 1000 Championship by bettering his rivals once more during qualifying at Assen.

The Frenchman came into the grid deciding Q2 session with provisional pole position in hand, but emphasised his advantage over the competition by lowering his benchmark from 1min 39.580secs to 1min 39.566secs.

With Bryan Staring three tenths adrift in second position, either of Barrier's laps would have been good enough to secure him a second career SSTK 1000 pole position.

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Despite some improvements around him, Staring held down his maiden front row grid position on the Pedercini Kawasaki, while Lorenzo Baroni consolidated his BMW Italia's team-mate's pace with the third best time.

Following his impressive performance at Imola, Loris Baz starts on the front row aboard the MRS Kawasaki, heading off the challenge from leading Ducati rider Eddi La Marra in fifth.

He will be joined on row two by Ten Kate Honda's Fabio Massei, Lorenzo Savadori on the Barni Ducati 1199 Panigale and Marco Bussolotti riding the previous generation 1098R version of the Italian machine.