Marc Marquez took his second consecutive pole position in the 2012 Moto2 season after a sensational display at Estoril on Saturday. The championship leader only ended up a tenth of a second ahead of Thomas Luthi but in truth, he dominated the session.
Marquez moved straight to the top of the timesheets when he emerged from his garage, setting a 1:42.059 on his very first attempt. The Spaniard chopped a second off his fastest time next time around and at the halfway stage, a third of a second separated him from second placed Julian Simon.
With 18 minutes remaining, Marquez improved to a 1:41.044 but Johann Zarco used his slipstream to great effect, going second fastest on a 1:41.311. The French rookie was demoted to third by Luthi eight minutes from time and the Swiss rider was now emerging as Marquez's greatest threat. Luthi was circulating together with Simon and the pair were both dropping their lap times but Luthi's fastest lap was an agonising 0.010s shy of provisional pole.
Zarco was clinging on to the final place on the front row but Scott Redding snatched it away from him in the final minute, clocking a 1:41.268, but the JIR rider will still line up a sensational fourth. Moto2's newest race winner Pol Espargaro took fifth while Andrea Iannone left it late to take sixth having languished in the midfield for most of the weekend.
Simon's early promise failed to deliver a place on the front two rows, leaving him down in seventh, while Toni Elias qualified eighth, finally showing signs of the form which took him to the title in 2010. Alex de Angelis, another rider with plenty of Moto2 experience, could only manage ninth and the Forward Racing rider blotted his copybook with a crash at turn two.
Bradley Smith couldn't improve at the end of the session and subsequently slipped from sixth in the early stages to a final position of thirteenth. The Tech 3 rider will start nine places ahead of teammate Xavier Simeon and twelve ahead of compatriot Gino Rea.