With dark clouds gathering it was a case of setting fast laps as soon as possible for some in FP2 at Sepang.
Occasional spots of rain on some corners did not slow the pace, as Friday fastest man Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing Team Aprilia) pushed on to a 2’03.951, under a second slower than the track best.
As thunder and lighting approached close by the final laps were tense for all, as Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team) almost made it to the top, only deposed to the second best time in the final lap.
In another shock result first time Sepang runner Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) was third fastest, ahead of the lone Yamaha entry of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team).
After a slow start Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) got up to fifth place. The wide-open spaces of Sepang, and the long straights allowed the BMW of Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) to sing and he finished sixth, 0.361 seconds from Savadori.
Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) finished up seventh, championship contender Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) eighth.
Riding as a sub for the injured Sylvain Barrier Anthony West (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was an impressive ninth fastest.
Championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) was the last rider to make automatic qualification into Superpole 2, but his team-mate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) missed by one place, and will now have to get out of Superpole 1 first of all on Saturday.
Josh Brookes (Milwaukee BMW) placed 17th.
The lightning storm came uncomfortably close at the end of the WorldSBK session, delaying the start of the WorldSSP second qualifying.