Sam Lowes continued his great WSS form on his Yakhnich Racing Yamaha R6 to record the fastest lap of the first qualifying session at the Imola round.
He was 0.722 seconds quicker than his next nearest rival Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) as he dominated the pace once again in his effort to go for five race wins in a row on Sunday.
His main championship rivals, Mahi Kawasaki Racing Team India duo Fabien Foret and Kenan Sofuoglu were only eighth and 11th in first qualifying, despite having tested at Jerez after the previous Portimao round in early June. Foret was 1.6 seconds behind Lowes, Sofuoglu 1.8 back.
Rookie WSS rider Michael Van Der Mark (Pata Honda) was top Honda man in third, with his fellow rookie and team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti fourth. Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) was fifth at his home track.
Despite a right knee still badly swollen after hitting a kerb at the previous Portimao round, Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) was ninth, with Kevin Coghlan unable to repeat his fast performance in the morning free session and finally going 12th on his DMC-Lorenzini Kawasaki.
Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) slotted into 22nd place and one-off Lorini Honda rider Tommy Bridewell closed his first WSS day at Imola in 23rd.