Loris Baz secured pole position for only the second time in his World Superbike Championship career with a stunning ride in Jerez.
The Kawasaki rider's circuit record lap of one minute 40.298 seconds was enough to ensure he will start at the front of the grid ahead of Davide Giugliano (1:40.533secs) and championship leader Tom Sykes (1:40.561secs).
Ducati's Giugliano and reigning champion Sykes also bettered the previous record lap time, but it was Frenchman Baz who set the pace on Saturday.
Baz, who lies fourth in the race for the world title, clocked the quickest time in the second free practice session at the Spanish circuit on Friday with a time of 1:42.677secs and proved that was no flash in the pan a day later.
British rider Sykes has a 44-point lead over second-placed Sylvain Guintoli with just two races remaining after the Spanish showpiece and won the title on this track last year.
And the Kawasaki man will be hopeful of moving a step closer to retaining the title after Guintoli was only fifth-fastest in qualifying.
Marco Melandri (Aprilia) was fourth-fastest, with Suzuki's Eugene Laverty completing the second row on the grid.
Chaz Davies, Leon Haslam, Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea complete the top 10.