Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow emerged from a wet opening qualifying session at the Monza circuit in Italy with the fastest time today, the Brit finishing with a best of 1:44.577, which was slower than his leading time from this morning's free practice that was held in drier conditions.Crutchlow's best lap came late in the session when he reeled off two laps in the 1:44s to take the top spot from countryman Jonathan Rea. Rea and the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR had been on top with his 1:44.885 until Crutchlow bested it late in what is his Sterligarda Yamaha team's home race."It was nice to top the time sheets in both sessions today," Crutchlow said in a team release. "We're still looking for better grip a bit on the bike and also need to improve when pushing going into the corners; I think we can work on that. We tried a couple of things today which is good and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It's great that it's the team's home race and we'll have lots of fans here and Yamaha guests so it's nice to be on top today for them."Rea ended up going a bit quicker at the end and his 1:44.789 was good enough for second with the two Brits the only riders in the 1:44 range.Ducati Xerox's Michel Fabrizio returned to form in today's wet session, the Italian racing at home - and at the site of his first-ever World Superbike victory a year ago - ending up third with his 1:45.134. Fabrizio was second to Crutchlow in the morning free session.Fourth today went to BMW's Troy Corser, the Aussie at the top of the timesheets until Rea and Crutchlow took over. Corser ended with a best of 1:45.234 to complete the provisional front row of the grid for Sunday's two World Superbike races.World Championship points leader Leon Haslam ended Friday with the fifth best time, the Alstare Suzuki rider leading BMW's Ruben Xaus, Aprilia's Max Biaggi and Team Pata B&G Racing's Jakub Smrz.Sterligarda Yamaha's James Toseland and Supersonic Racing Ducati's Luca Scassa rounded out the top 10.Pedercini Kawasaki's Roger Lee Hayden was faced with learning a new circuit in iffy conditions and he ended up 23rd with a best lap of 1:49.217.With alterations done to the first chicane at Monza, Crutchlow's 1:43.758 from this morning's session is a new lap record.

Friday Qualifying

1.                  Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:44.577

2.                  Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:44.789

3.                  Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:45.134

4.                  Troy Corser (BMW) 1:45.234

5.                  Leon Haslam (Suzuki) 1:45.303

6.                  Ruben Xaus (BMW) 1:45.542

7.                  Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:45.592

8.                  Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:45.603

9.                  James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:46.019

10.                  Luca Scassa (Ducati) 1:46.111

World Superbike Headlines

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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