Shane Byrne grabbed his first pole position of the season at Oulton Park on Saturday afternoon, after setting the fastest time of the weekend so far.
The reigning champion put in a lap of 1:34.016 just before the weather began to take a turn for the worse – making it even harder for his rivals to get near his time.
Leon Haslam tried his best in the dying moments of the session but he remained in second place – just +0.184s behind the five-time series champion.
The veteran duo will be joined by Luke Mossey on the front-row for tomorrow’s opening race after the JG Speedfit Kawasaki man put in another impressive performance.
Josh Brookes will start at the front of the second row after edging ahead of Glenn Irwin. They will be joined by a hugely impressive Jake Dixon on the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki.
Jason O’Halloran was next up in seventh place after getting caught out by the drops of rain beginning to hit the circuit. Peter Hickman and Christian Iddon round out the first three rows of the grid.
Q1 ended with Haslam on top of the timing sheets, after putting in an early lap-time of 1:34.651. He was joined within the top three positions by Byrne and Mossey.
There was a huge crash for Michael Laverty as he went down at Cascades with around five minutes to go in the session. The crash was captured spectacularly by a brave cameraman, with plenty of damage inflicted on the McAMS Yamaha machine.
The riders who failed to make it through to Q2 included Lee Jackson on the Smiths Racing BMW, who was knocked out in the dying second of the session by Jakub Srmz.
The other riders who failed to make it through were: James Westmoreland, Laverty, Martin Jessopp, Taylor Mackenzie, Michael Dunlop, Aaron Zanotti and Shaun Winfield on the Anvil Hire Yamaha.
Into Q2 and it was Haslam who led the way once again, this time with a lap-time of 1:34.317. Byrne was next up in second, with teammate Irwin rounding out the top three.
The second session signaled the end of the day for some big names, including the second McAMS Yamaha of James Ellison (15th) and Dan Linfoot (16th) on the Honda.
John Hopkins (12th) also failed to make it through on the Moto Rapido Ducati, as did Sylvain Guintoli (14th) and Tommy Bridewell (10th) on the Team WD40 Kawasaki.
The final round of the qualifying session was an eight-minute shoot-up, rather than Superpole, due to a threat of rain in the area.
Haslam set the benchmark time early-on with a 1:34:679, with Mossey going second. Byrne would set the quickest lap of the weekend moments later with a stunning lap of 1:34.016.
Spots of rain began to fall around the Cheshire circuits, hampering the chances of various riders going any quicker in the session – much to the visible frustration of O’Halloran.
The changing weather conditions meant that nobody was able to challenge the blistering lap-time of Byrne.