In a circuit known for its lack of passing opportunities, the Buildbase Suzuki rider took top spot with just 7 hundredths of a second separating the top seven riders.
Ray, who took two wins at the opening round at Donington Park has since slipped down to fifth in the standings, but managed to hold off championship leader Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) and Jake Dixon (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki).
Haslam does double after Dixon fails with final-lap pass at Cadwell
Race 1 is at 13.30 on Sunday, followed by Race 2 at 16.30.
Only the triple-header at Silverstone remains before the Showdown rounds begin at Oulton Park, Assen and Brands Hatch.
Re-watch: Riders get some big air time when they jump the Mountain at Cadwell
'What a ride!' - O'Halloran finally gets over the hump at Knockhill
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