Xavi Vierge picked up pace as the track dried and grip improved to take pole position for the Moto2 European Grand Prix Round in Valencia.
The Petronas Sprinta racing rider put everything into his last run to post a best of 1m38.936s, a brave lap as he sped over both the wet and dry sections of the track.
It marks a great comeback for the Spaniard who broke bones in both his feet in his Le Mans crash and is his first return to pole position since the Brno round in 2018.
Vierge pipped Joe Roberts to the position, the American finishing his session just 0.181s behind as he too went all out on his final run for Tennor American Racing.
The all Kalex front row is completed by long term frontrunner Sam Lowes, after repeatedly lowering his own then timesheet topping lap, he proved what could be done in the changeable conditions at Ricardo Tormo, but perhaps showed his hand a little too soon. the EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider set a final time just two thousandths slower than Roberts.
Lowes, who leads the championship following his superb pole-to-win performance at the Teruel round, saw his nearest rival in the standings, Enea Bastianini, start the session on wet tyres. That caused him to lose all his rhythm and a lot of time when changing to slicks. The number 33 also made a huge save when his wheels didn’t suit the track conditions on his way to qualifying down in 15th for Italtrans.
Back at the front of the grid, Remy Gardner picked up the pace to move up to fourth for Onexox TKKR SAG Team.
The Australian is joined on row two by one time session leader Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Jorge Martin who took sixth for Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Luca Marini was the best of the riders who needed to progress from Q1, moving up to seventh on the second Sky Racing entry as his chance at the title becomes more of an uphill struggle with every session.
Lorenzo Baldassarri put in a lot of track time during FP3 and his efforts paid off as he used his knowledge to pull in an improved performance and claim eighth on the grid for Flexbox HP 40.
His team-mate Hector Garzo looked to be on for a best ever qualifying performance but was run out of contention in a fiery few final minutes of flying laps. The Spaniard was the best of the rookies in ninth.
Nicolo Bulega found enough pace in the closing stages to complete the top ten times for Federal Oil Gresini.
Both Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) and Aron Canet (Inde Aspar) found themselves raced out of a move up to Q2 after late laps from Hafizh Syahrin and Andi Farid Izdihar saw them progress instead. They will line up 19th and 20th respectively.
Izdihar made the best progress, taking twelfth on the grid with Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, his best qualifying performance to date. Syahrin (Inde Aspar) starts 17th.
Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) saw his hopes of progression end when he fell near the end of the session skipping from second down to eighth – equal to 22nd on the grid.