Ben Bostrom bounced back into the spotlight during the first day of qualifying at the Lausitzring on Friday as he overcame persistently dreary conditions to take provisional pole for races 13 and 14 of the 2002 World Superbike Championship before spilling his L&M Ducati onto the tarmac late in the session.

Perhaps the World Superbike Championship just isn't destined to experience the impressive Lausitzring in gloriously sunny conditions for after a monsoon-like maiden visit to the multi-purpose German facility in 2001, the rains returned on the first day of practice and qualifying.

Although conditions were not too bad they were still treacherous enough to catch out many riders throughout the course of the day including the man who ended up at the top of the timesheets: Ben Bostrom.

After struggling badly in the wet at Silverstone and managing no better than 11th and 20th at Lausitz last year, the L&M Ducati rider shocked the paddock with a gritty display on a greasy surface.

Setting a best lap of 1 minute 48.335-seconds, a full four tenths quicker than 2001 Superpole winner Neil Hodgson, Bostrom did blot his copybook by sliding off his factory prepared Ducati and thus losing the chance to improve his time further.

Hodgson's GSE Racing team showed once again why they are fully capable of carrying Ducati's factory WSB assault next year as the Englishman placed his orange and purple machine in second place with a best time of 1 minute 48.725-seconds.

Right behind Hodgson was another Englishman with a point to prove as Chris Walker produced his best qualifying form of the year to place his four-cylinder Kawasaki a magnificent third in front of their 'home' fans. Walker, who has recently been linked with Kawasaki's 2003 factory MotoGP effort, backed up his strong Silverstone form by finishing the session a mere three hundredths of a second behind his arch-rival.

Behind both battling Brits was current points leader Troy Bayliss, who won a wet race two last year, completing the provisional front row.

Bayliss' Infostrada Ducati teammate Ruben Xaus was fifth quickest and the first man outside the 1 minute 48 second range while Steve Martin's Pirelli's once again looked very tasty in less than ideal conditions as he ended the day sixth quickest at a track where his DFX Ducati team were strong last year.

Gregorio Lavilla and Pierfrancesco Chili completed the second row ahead of a disappointing Colin Edwards, winner of race one last year. Mauro Sanchini gave Kawasaki Bertocchi their best showing for several years with a fine tenth place (arguably the ride of the day next to Bostrom) while an equally delighted Peter Goddard, James Toseland, Marco Borciani, Nori Haga, Broc Parkes and Juan Borja rounded out the provisional Superpole qualifiers.

German rider Alex Hofmann finished 19th on the second factory Kawasaki despite a complete lack of four-stroke experience while two riders, the unpronounceable Pole Teodor Myszkowski and the inevitable Giuliano Sartoni, finished outside the maximum qualifying time.