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Jules Cluzel snatched a home pole position for MV Agusta in World Supersport qualifying at Imola on Saturday.
It was a first ever WSS pole for MV and an especially impressive effort from Cluzel, who had lost two practice sessions due to technical problems.
The winner of round one in Phillip Island, Cluzel had been sixth when Imola qualifying was halted with 17 minutes remaining to clean up a massive engine failure for CIA Insurance Honda's Raffaele de Rosa
After the restart Cluzel pipped Mahi Kawasaki's world champion Kenan Sofuoglu by 0.216s after finding half-a-second on his very final lap. That in turn pushed home star Lorenzo Zanetti to the outside of the front row for Pata Honda (+0.333s).
Sunday's second row will be formed by Kev Coghlan (DMC Panavto-Yamaha), Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Honda) and Zanetti's team-mate Michael VD Mark.
PJ Jacobsen was holding fourth at the restart but subsequently slipped down to seventh, just ahead of title leading Kawasaki Intermoto team-mate Florian Marino.
Marino currently holds a four-point advantage over Assen winner VD Mark, with Coghlan one point further behind and Cluzel eight from the top.