Kawasaki's Tom Sykes - Mr. Superpole 2012 - scorched the newly named Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Italy today during a "wet" Superpole session to claim his fifth pole in seven races.
With thunderstorms moving through the area, Superpole was classified as wet, meaning there would be two 20-minute sessions rather than the normal three-session dry Superpoles. Bright sunshine had the track drying quickly and Sykes managed to rip off a 1:36.286 with 42 seconds to go in the first session to lead the way heading into the second session.
The big news to come out of the first session was not who made to the next session, but who didn't. World Champion Carlos Checa got caught out by the conditions and ended up 16th. BMW's Marco Melandri also didn't make the cut in 13th and neither did Aprilia's World Championship points leader Max Biaggi, the Italian ending up 10th and missing it by two spots as eight riders moved on.
The final session was all Sykes as he threw down a 1:35.375 - the best time of the weekend (Sykes had led this morning's final qualifying session with a 1:35.935) - to claim his fifth pole of the season and the seventh of his career.
Early on, Team Effenbert Liberty Ducati's Sylvain Guintoli looked to be the biggest challenger to Sykes, but the Frenchman crashed and ended up eighth.
Honda's Jonathan Rea took up the fight and ended up second, the Northern Irelander posting a 1:35.991 - .616 of a second off Sykes' best.
Third place on the grid for tomorrow's two races will go to BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet's Ayrton Badovini, the Italian just missing out on getting into the 1:35s with his 1:36.083. He will be joined on the front row by Checa's young teammate Davide Giugliano.
Row two will be headed by Liberty Racing Team Effenbert's Jakub Smrz with BMW's Leon Haslam, Aprilia's Eugene Laverty and Guintoli joining him there.
Things could get interesting in the races with Biaggi, Melandri and Checa starting well back in the field.
Californian John Hopkins, meanwhile, didn't qualify for Superpole. He will start both races from 18th.
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:35.375
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:35.991
3. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:36.083
4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:36.147
5. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:36.183
6. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:36.283
7. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1:36.365
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:36.559
9. Matteo Baiocco (Ducati) 1:37.509
10. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:37.686
18. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:37.168