Honda's Jonathan Rea has leapt to the top of the World Superbike qualifying timesheets at the Nurburgring this morning, going inside his own circuit lap record with a 1'55.161 but he was pushed hard by series leader Marco Melandri.
The young Irishman, who is returning to WSBK from a two-day test on Casey Stoner's RC213V, was seventh quickest in yesterday's qualifying session but found some pace overnight to pip Melandri by 0.025s with his final run of laps.
Former champion Max Biaggi holds third spot but is only a further half a tenth behind his countryman while yesterday's fastest man Carlos Checa slipped back to fourth place and is just over a tenth off the pace.
Kawasaki's Tom Sykes is just off the provisional front row in fifth place with Davide Guigliano in sixth and BMW's Leon Haslam seventh. Fixi Suzuki's Leon Camier bagged eighth place with a lap that is less than half a second off the pace while Chaz Davies has pushed his way into ninth place ahead of Eugene Laverty who drops down to tenth place.
Sylvain Guintoli fell off his Pata Ducati halfway through the session but walked away, only managing 18th place. Lorenzo Lanzi, who replaced Jakub Smrz in the Liberty Ducati team, is 20th.