A thrilling duel for 125cc pole position at Mugello was decided in favor of Sandro Cortese, who grabbed the top spot in the final seconds of qualifying from Pol Espargaro, who had crashed spectacularly a few minutes earlier.
Espargaro's Tuenti Derbi topped the times for most of the session, chipping away at his times down to a 1m58.336s before he walked away from a massive high-side at the quick Poggiosecco chicance.
Cortese, who had not figured at the head of the times until the closing moments, towed up to series leader Nicolas Terol (Aspar Aprilia) on the final two laps of the session. The slipstream he received on the start/finish straight proved crucial as his 1m58.315s pipped Espargaro by a couple of hundredths of a second.
Bradley Smith will start third on his Aspar Aprilia, ahead of teammate Terol.
Randy Krummenacher heads the second row, ahead of Marc Marquez, Esteve Rabat and Efren Vazquez. The latter suffered a heavy crash on the final lap of the session, and required medical assistance at trackside.
Pos Rider Bike Time Gap
1. Sandro Cortese Derbi 1m58.315s
2. Pol Espargaro Derbi 1m58.336s + 0.021s
3. Bradley Smith Aprilia 1m58.572s + 0.257s
4. Nicolas Terol Aprilia 1m58.586s + 0.271s
5. Randy Krummenacher Aprilia 1m58.682s + 0.367s
6. Marc Marquez Derbi 1m58.705s + 0.390s
7. Esteve Rabat Aprilia 1m59.177s + 0.862s
8. Efren Vazquez Derbi 1m59.341s + 1.026s
9. Johann Zarco Aprilia 1m59.617s + 1.302s
10. Tomoyoshi Koyama Aprilia 1m59.692s + 1.377s
11. Jasper Iwema Aprilia 1m59.809s + 1.494s
12. Luis Salom Aprilia 2m00.052s + 1.737s
13. Daniel Webb Aprilia 2m00.131s + 1.816s
14. Alberto Moncayo Aprilia 2m00.559s + 2.244s
15. Alessandro Tonucci Aprilia 2m00.774s + 2.459s
16. Luigi Morciano Aprilia 2m00.890s + 2.575s
17. Alexis Masbou Aprilia 2m01.300s + 2.985s
18. Marcel Schrotter Honda 2m01.312s + 2.997s
19. Sturla Fagerhaug Aprilia 2m01.351s + 3.036s
20. Simone Grotzki Giorgi Aprilia 2m01.589s + 3.274s
21. Jakub Kornfeil Aprilia 2m01.683s + 3.368s
22. Riccardo Moretti Aprilia 2m01.797s + 3.482s
23. Jonas Folger Aprilia 2m01.868s + 3.553s
24. Tommaso Gabrielli Aprilia 2m01.898s + 3.583s
25. Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 2m02.243s + 3.928s
26. Mattia Tarozzi Aprilia 2m02.417s + 4.102s
27. Muhammad Zulfahmi Aprilia 2m02.586s + 4.271s
28. Armando Pontone Aprilia 2m02.763s + 4.448s
29. Michael van der Mark Lambretta 2m03.114s + 4.799s
30. Luca Marconi Aprilia 2m03.245s + 4.930s
31. Louis Rossi Aprilia 2m03.864s + 5.549s
32. Marco Ravaioli Lambretta 2m06.126s + 7.811s
33. Adrian Martin Aprilia 2m21.695s + 23.380s