Thomas Luthi followed up his practice pace to take pole position for the Moto2 season opener in Qatar.
The Paddock team's rider had finished in the top five in the Moto2 standings for the past two years, then led every single practice session at Losail. Luthi carried that form into qualifying, where a very early 2m00.187s lap proved sufficient to wrap up his second pole in the series.
Last year's runner-up Marc Marquez came closest to deposing Luthi, lapping just 0.072 seconds shy of pole on the Monlau Suter as he secured second on the grid for his first race since the Sepang practice crash that left him with a potential career-threatening eye injury.
Andrea Iannone - third in Moto2 in both 2010 and '11 - was third quickest for Speed Master, ahead of Pol Espargaro (Pons), Mike di Meglio (Speed Master) and Max Neukirchner (Kiefer).
Several regular frontrunners will be disappointed with their starts to the season - including British duo Bradley Smith and Scott Redding in 12th and 13th.
Aspar's all-star duo of 2010 Moto2 champion and MotoGP race-winner Toni Elias and 2011 125cc champion Nico Terol ended up only 17th and 26th. Terol's 125cc title rival Johann Zarco will start 19th for his Moto2 debut with JIR after his session ended in a Turn 1 collision with one of the Pons riders.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Thomas Luthi Paddock Suter 2m00.187s 2. Marc Marquez Monlau Suter 2m00.259s + 0.072s 3. Andrea Iannone Speed Master Speed Up 2m00.296s + 0.109s 4. Pol Espargaro Pons Kalex 2m00.597s + 0.410s 5. Mike di Meglio Speed Master Speed Up 2m00.625s + 0.438s 6. Max Neukirchner Kiefer Kalex 2m00.658s + 0.471s 7. Esteve Rabat Pons Kalex 2m00.793s + 0.606s 8. Claudio Corti Italtrans Kalex 2m00.874s + 0.687s 9. Takaaki Nakagami Italtrans Kalex 2m00.898s + 0.711s 10. Simone Corsi Ioda FTR 2m00.986s + 0.799s 11. Julian Simon Avintia FTR 2m00.992s + 0.805s 12. Bradley Smith Tech 3 2m01.015s + 0.828s 13. Scott Redding Marc VDS Kalex 2m01.031s + 0.844s 14. Mika Kallio Marc VDS Kalex 2m01.111s + 0.924s 15. Alex de Angelis Forward Suter 2m01.181s + 0.994s 16. Dominique Aegerter Technomag-CIP Suter 2m01.374s + 1.187s 17. Toni Elias Aspar Suter 2m01.618s + 1.431s 18. Xavier Simeon Tech 3 2m01.718s + 1.531s 19. Johann Zarco JIR Motobi 2m01.910s + 1.723s 20. Roberto Rolfo Technomag-CIP Suter 2m02.018s + 1.831s 21. Randy Krummenacher Switzerland Kalex 2m02.097s + 1.910s 22. Angel Rodriguez SAG FTR 2m02.142s + 1.955s 23. Ricard Cardus Arguinano AJR 2m02.500s + 2.313s 24. Axel Pons Pons Kalex 2m02.535s + 2.348s 25. Yuki Takahashi Forward Suter 2m02.637s + 2.450s 26. Nicolas Terol Aspar Suter 2m02.811s + 2.624s 27. Gino Rea Gresini Moriwaki 2m02.934s + 2.747s 28. Ratthapark Wilairot Gresini Moriwaki 2m03.031s + 2.844s 29. Anthony West QMMF Moriwaki 2m03.621s + 3.434s 30. Alexander Lundh MZ FTR 2m04.130s + 3.943s 31. Marco Colandrea SAG FTR 2m04.424s + 4.237s 32. Elena Rosell QMMF Moriwaki 2m05.183s + 4.996s 33. Nasser Hasan Al Malki QMMF Moriwaki 2m05.591s + 5.404s