Nico Terol remains on course for a hat-trick of wins at the start of the 2011 125cc World Championship after taking pole position at Estoril.
In truth, pole position was never in doubt for the Championship leader, who already had secured top spot before going even quicker at the very end of the session. His time of 1:46.556 was seven tenths of a second quicker than Sandro Cortese. As he had been in the first two races, the German was Terol's closest challenger in qualifying trim.
Joining them at the front will be Portuguese youngster Miguel Oliveira. The 16-year-old was knocked out of the top three by Hector Faubel but Oliveira produced a stunning final effort to secure a front row start at his home grand prix.
Faubel was forced to settle for fourth on the grid, over a second behind his teammate with Alberto Moncayo joining him on the second row, completing a magnificent day for AndalucÃa Banca Civica. Johann Zarco will start alongside in sixth and is well placed to challenge for his second consecutive podium.
Nico Terol's nearest challenger in the World Championship standings is Jonas Folger, but the German couldn't match his form from Jerez and will start back in eighth.
His Red Bull Ajo MotorSport teammate Danny Kent had an even tougher time. After going second quickest in Saturday's wet final practice session, the Chippenham rider entered qualifying full of confidence but crashed at turn one midway through the session. With each rider restricted to just one bike, Kent was forced to sit out the rest of the session and dropped to a frustrating 23rd.
With conditions slippery off line, turn one caught out countless riders. Taylor Mackenzie was the first to go down after a high side on his Aprilia. Newcomer Peter Sebestyen produced a carbon copy minutes later before Japanese rider Hiroki Ono also fell, taking Sergio Gadea with him.
Harry Stafford shone for Ongetta–Centro–Seta, climbing up to 17th with his last lap of the session to secure his best qualifying result of the season so far.
Danny Webb will start next door in 18th while Taylor Mackenzie was forced to settle for 26th after his accident.
|1||Nico Terol||Bankia Aspar Team||1:46.556|
|2||Sandro Cortese||Intact-Racing Team Germany||1:47.270||+0.714|
|3||Miguel Oliveira||AndalucÃa Banca Civica||1:47.405||+0.849|
|4||Hector Faubel||Bankia Aspar Team||1:47.600||+1.044|
|5||Alberto Moncayo||AndalucÃa Banca Civica||1:47.750||+1.194|
|7||Luis Salom||RW Racing GP||1:48.498||+1.942|
|8||Jonas Folger||Red Bull Ajo MotorSport||1:48.557||+2.001|
|10||Adrian Martin||Bankia Aspar Team||1:48.639||+2.083|
|13||Louis Rossi||Matteoni Racing||1:48.959||+2.403|
|14||Simone Grotzkyj||Phonica Racing||1:49.237||+2.681|
|18||Danny Webb||Mahindra Racing||1:50.167||+3.611|
|19||Niklas Ajo||TT Motion Events Racing||1:50.195||+3.639|
|21||Hiroki Ono||Caretta Technology||1:50.433||+3.877|
|22||Luigi Morciano||Team Italia FMI||1:50.559||+4.003|
|23||Danny Kent||Red Bull Ajo MotorSport||1:50.587||+4.031|
|24||Giulian Pedone||Phonica Racing||1:50.875||+4.319|
|25||Joan Perello||Matteoni Racing||1:51.608||+5.052|
|26||Taylor Mackenzie||Phonica Racing||1:51.803||+5.247|
|27||Marcel Schrotter||Mahindra Racing||1:52.280||+5.724|
|28||Peter Sebestyen||Caretta Technology||1:53.508||+6.952|
|29||Francesco Mauriello||WTR-Ten10 Racing||1:53.740||+7.184|
|107% Time: 1:54.015|
|NQ||Kevin Hanus||Team Hanusch||1:54.875||+8.319|
|NQ||Sarath Kumar||WTR-Ten10 Racing||1:55.530||+8.974|
|NQ||Alessandro Tonucci||Team Italia FMI||No Time (Injured)|