Marco Melandri proved the fastest rider on day one of World Superbike qualifying at Portimao, with a 1 minute, 43.196 second lap aboard his factory BMW Motorrad Motorsport S1000RR to earn provisional pole. That lap times put Melandri nearly 4-10ths of a second ahead of Aprilia's Eugene Laverty. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was third, followed by Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) in fourth, making it four manufacturers in the first four spots.
Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) posted a time to get him into the top five, while Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) continued his run of good form in sixth place. Series leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) was seventh, 2011 champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) eighth in a field of 23 riders.
The top eight qualifiers were separated by just 8-10ths of a second.
Melandri clocked his best lap Friday with nearly 15 minutes remaining in the session and then watched in the closing stages of the session as no one was able to match his time.
Chaz Davies topped former AMA road racers. Davies, who is coming off his first World Superbike victory a few weeks ago in Germany, qualified tenth on his ParkinGO Aprilia. Former AMA and Canadian Superbike rider Brett McCormick was 17th on the Team Effenbert Ducati and American John Hopkins 19th on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki.
Qualifying continues Saturday with Superpole.
World Superbike Friday qualifying - Portimao, Portugal
1. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1'43.196
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'43.580
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'43.731
4. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1'43.886
5. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1'43.921
6. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'43.949
7. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'43.996
8. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'43.999
9. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1'44.373
10. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'44.390
11. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1'44.429
12. Sylvain Guintoli (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1'44.499
13. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'44.542
14. David Salom (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'44.552
15. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'44.602
16. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1'44.790
17. Brett McCormick (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1'45.082
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1'45.318
19. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'45.655
20. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'45.817
21. Lorenzo Lanzi (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 1'46.024
22. Matteo Baiocco (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R 1'46.954
23. Norino Brignola (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.416