After a subdued weekend so far, Marc Marquez returned to form in qualifying to claim his fourth consecutive pole position in 2012. The CatalunyaCaixa Repsol rider led the session almost from start to finish but will have championship rivals Pol Espargaro and Thomas Luthi alongside him on the front row tomorrow.
Marquez set the standard immediately with a 1:46.511 while Luthi joined him in the mid-1:46s to establish himself in second. Espargaro was a quarter of a second further back in third but lit up the timing screens with eight minutes remaining, clocking a 1:46.382 to usurp his fellow countryman on pole position.
The response was instant and decisive though as Marquez regained top spot, completing the fastest ever Moto2 lap at the Circuit de Catalunya, 1:46.286. Not satisfied with that, the Spanish teenager went even quicker two minutes from the end to see off the challenge of Espargaro. Luthi did improve on the Interwetten Suter but missed out on second by 0.048s.
The top three were in a class of their own for much of the session but Andrea Iannone finally got himself on terms with them in the dying seconds to claim fourth. Simone Corsi will start from the middle of the second row courtesy of a time set on his second flying lap while Dominique Aegerter qualified a season's best sixth for Technomag-CIP.
Scott Redding would've been hoping for better than seventh after setting the pace in morning practice but that's where the Briton finds himself on the grid. Former Moto2 world champion Toni Elias is next along in eighth with Esteve Rabat and Alex de Angelis rounding out the top ten.
Tech 3 substitute rider Jordi Torres produced one of the stand-out performances to qualify eleventh, beating teammate Bradley Smith by two positions. Gresini Racing's Gino Rea will line up in 23rd, matching his best grid position in Moto2.
The session also saw a potentially dangerous collision between Takaaki Nakagami and Ricard Cardus at the end of the pit straight. The Italtrans rider overtook Cardus on the way into turn one before chopping in front of him, leaving the Spaniard with no option but to run into the back of the Kalex. Both riders escaped uninjured but Cardus was severely disadvantaged and fell back to 25th. Nakagami rejoined the track at the end and salvaged twelfth.