Cabin Honda rider Makoto Tamada continued to embarrass the rest of the World Superbike regulars as he easily took Saturday's Superpole award ahead of Hitoyasu Izutsu and Troy Corser.

Japan's Makoto Tamada continued his crushing form at Sugo in Saturday's Superpole competition as he took his Cabin Honda SP around the highly technical 2.31-mile Sugo circuit in a time of 1 minute 28.797 seconds giving him a clear half a second advantage over factory Kawasaki rider Hitoyasu Izutsu who won both races at the Japanese track in 2000.

Tamada has yet to be headed in a single practice or qualifying session this weekend as Japan's wildcard riders used their immense circuit knowledge to claim six places in Superpole, much to the displeasure of several factory World Superbike regulars, including Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus who both missed the cut for Saturday's one lap showdown.

Tamada's advantage at the head of the field was a mere half a second (!), compared to the one-second cushion he held after final practice with Izutsu's 1 minute 29.203-seconds the fastest anyone other than Tamada has lapped the circuit all weekend.

Troy Corser was once again the best of the non-Japanese riders in third spot on the Aprilia but his Superpole effort (1min 29.203secs) was a full seven tenths slower than Tamada who looks set to walk away with Sunday's two races unless one of the WSBK regulars really has a moment of inspiration.

Ben Bostrom restored a little pride to the factory Ducati outfit by improving from 14th in final practice to fourth in Superpole, his 1 minute 29.510 seconds over half a second quicker than he managed in practice while in fifth spot was the next wildcard rider, Shinichi Ito in the second of the two Cabin Honda's.

Neil Hodgson was a superb sixth on the GSE Racing Ducati with the Englishman clipping a further half a second off his morning time, itself an improvement over Friday and the current British Superbike Champion could be set to launch a surprise attack on the podium at the track where the team felt they would be up against it more than any other.

Akira Yanagawa appeared to get his Kawasaki working to his liking a bit more as he vaulted up the order from 16th to seventh and for the first time this season the four-cylinder ZX-7RR's look like a major threat although Yanagawa's team-mate Gregorio Lavilla fell to 14th in Superpole after being the leading European rider throughout practice behind Corser and the phalanx of Japanese runners.

Reigning WSBK Champion Colin Edwards will start from the outside of row two in Sunday's two races on the best of the factory Castrol Honda's although his best lap was a shameful 1.1-seconds slower than his Cabin Honda rival on supposedly superior machinery.

Wildcards Tamaki Serizawa, Akira Ryo and Wataru Yoshikawa completed most of the third row with the only non-Japanese interloper being the second Aprilia of Regis Laconi who will start 12th while Frankie Chili's struggles to get the new Suzuki GSX-750 up to speed only netted him 13th spot.

Tadayuki Okada was the slowest of the Superpole qualifiers on the second factory Castrol Honda after a slight mistake cost him valuable tenths although he will still start the races ahead of both Ducati Infostrada riders who had their respective last gasp efforts in final practice thwarted when Robert Ulm crashed his Gerin Ducati.

Bayliss, who made a disastrous debut for the factory Ducati team at Sugo last year, was the quickest of the non-Superpole qualifiers in 17th place, one spot ahead of team-mate Ruben Xaus and two ahead of the continually impressive Brock Parkes on the leading NCR Ducati.

James Toseland will start in 20th place, one behind his fellow WSBK rookie but ahead of Stephane Chambon who not only had to contend with a bike that is not yet properly sorted but a track that he has very little knowledge of.

The trophy engravers have not yet begun writing Tamada's name on the winner's prizes for tomorrow's races but on this evidence there looks to be very little anyone else can do about him with the only sustained threat coming from Izutsu and Corser.