Championship hopefully Jonathan Rea shrugged off an early crash to claim pole position at Magny-Cours in what was the first wet Superpole of this season.
Rea, chasing a third straight title which he could wrap up in Race 1, went down on his first flying lap of Superpole.
He was able to remount and returned to the Kawasaki pits without a time to his name.
While checks were carried out on his ZX-10RR, his rivals continued to lap the Magny-Cours circuit, gaining valuable track knowledge in the wet.
Chad Davies, Xavi Fores and Tom Sykes vied for the top spot with the Ducati rider leading the way on a 1:58.936.
With the rain coming down harder, Marco Melandri and Lorenzo Savadori – who was thrown from his Aprilia in a massive high-side – both crashed as too did Eugene Laverty.
Rea, on his first flying lap since his earlier crash, put in a blistering lap as he went 0.7s up in the first sector, 1.2 up in the second, and P1 with a 1:57.433.
He continued lapping, shaving tenths off his time to claim pole position with a 1:56.555.
Leandro Mercado came through Superpole 1 to finish second fastest, 1.2s down, while Skyes was third.
Fores fell to fourth place, qualifying ahead of Alex Lowes and Davide Giugliano, the second rider to progress through Superpole 1.
Aryton Badovini, who had a huge crash in FP3, did not contest Superpole nor will he take part in Race 1. He will be evaluated on Sunday before a decision is made regarding Race 2.
1 REA Jonathan Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1'56.555
2 MERCADO Leandro Aprilia RSV4 RF 1'57.758 1.203
3 SYKES Tom Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1'58.088 1.533
4 FORÉS Xavi Ducati Panigale R 1'58.447 1.892
5 LOWES Alex Yamaha YZF R1 1'58.719 2.164
6 GIUGLIANO Davide Honda CBR1000RR 1'58.926 2.371
7 DAVIES Chaz Ducati Panigale R 1'58.936 2.381
8 CAMIER Leon MV Agusta 1000 F4 1'59.377 2.822
9 LAVERTY Eugene Aprilia RSV4 RF 1'59.637 3.082
10 VAN DER MARK Michael Yamaha YZF R1 2'00.357 3.802
11 SAVADORI Lorenzo Aprilia RSV4 RF 2'04.679 8.124
12 MELANDRI Marco Ducati Panigale R 2'05.173 8.618
13 RUSSO Riccardo Kawasaki ZX-10RR 2'01.765
14 WEST Anthony Kawasaki ZX-10RR 2'02.308
15 JEZEK Ondrej Kawasaki ZX-10RR 2'02.584
16 RAMOS Román Kawasaki ZX-10RR 2'02.831
17 ANDREOZZI Alessandro Yamaha YZF R1 2'04.163
18 GAGNE Jake Honda CBR1000RR 2'04.302
19 DE ROSA Raffaele BMW S 1000 RR 2'04.718
20 TORRES Jordi BMW S 1000 RR 2'05.777