Bradley Smith secured his second 125GP pole position in the last three races with a stunning last lap at the Misano circuit this afternoon.
The Aspar Aprilia rider produced a brilliant last lap of 1.43.329 to edge out world championship leader Marc Marquez by 0.158s to claim his eighth consecutive front row start.
Smith had looked like failing to add to his pole position in Brno last month as he trailed Marquez by 0.029s going into the dying seconds of qualifying.
But the 19-year-old dug deep as he looks to make amends for his crash out of second place during last weekend’s Indianapolis race in America.
After finishing in a disappointing seventh yesterday, Smith was always a contender for a front row in a session that looked like falling Marquez’s way again.
The Spaniard, who holds a slender four-point advantage in the title race over Smith’s Aspar Aprilia team-mate Nicolas Terol, was over a second clear of the field in the opening third of the session.
The Derbi rider continually fended off Smith’s determined attack but his best of 1.43.487 wasn’t quite good enough to clinch an eighth pole position of the year.
Terol, who has won the last two races in Brno and Indianapolis to put pressure on Marquez in the title hunt, could only finish third quickest.
A 1.43.644 left him just over 0.3s away from Smith but he claimed his ninth front row start of the season.
Pol Espargaro completed the front row with a fastest time of 1.43.809 to finish just under 0.5s away from Smith’s impressive pace.
Danny Webb looked on course for his season best qualifying result when he held sixth spot with just five minutes of the session remaining.
He’d clocked a time of 1.44.816 but was unable to improve in the closing stages and slipped down the grid to ninth position.
The Kent rider missed starting from the second row of the grid for only the fourth time this season by 0.255s.