Bradley Smith beat his British countryman Scott Redding to pole position for the 125cc Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Smith and his Aspar Aprilia teammate -- and title rival -- Julian Simon dominated most of the session, repeatedly swapping pole position until Smith put in an unbeatable 1m58.134s lap.
Blusens Aprilia rider Redding was always in contention for the front row, but looked set for fourth until an excellent last lap thrust him between Smith and points leader Simon.
Sergio Gadea had been on course to make it an Aspar one-two-three until Redding's final improvement left the Spaniard fourth.
Red Bull KTM's Marc Marquez also made late gains to take fifth, pushing championship contender Andrea Iannone (Ongetta Aprilia) back to sixth on the grid for his home race.
Former Rookies Cup champion Johann Zarco earned the best starting position of his short MotoGP career with seventh, ahead of Pol Espargaro, Sandro Cortese and Danny Webb.
Pos Rider Bike Time
1. Bradley Smith Aprilia 1m58.134s
2. Scott Redding Aprilia 1m58.431s + 0.297
3. Julian Simon Aprilia 1m58.575s + 0.441
4. Sergio Gadea Aprilia 1m58.621s + 0.487
5. Marc Marquez KTM 1m58.947s + 0.813
6. Andrea Iannone Aprilia 1m59.121s + 0.987
7. Johann Zarco Aprilia 1m59.178s + 1.044
8. Pol Espargaro Derbi 1m59.186s + 1.052
9. Sandro Cortese Derbi 1m59.358s + 1.224
10. Daniel Webb Aprilia 1m59.478s + 1.344
11. Simone Corsi Aprilia 1m59.589s + 1.455
12. Nicolas Terol Aprilia 1m59.600s + 1.466
13. Randy Krummenacher Aprilia 1m59.726s + 1.592
14. Esteve Rabat Aprilia 1m59.974s + 1.840
15. Efren Vazquez Derbi 2m00.032s + 1.898
16. Lorenzo Zanetti Aprilia 2m00.113s + 1.979
17. Joan Olive Derbi 2m00.118s + 1.984
18. Dominique Aegerter Derbi 2m00.149s + 2.015
19. Stefan Bradl Aprilia 2m00.335s + 2.201
20. Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 2m00.384s + 2.250
21. Riccardo Moretti Aprilia 2m00.392s + 2.258
22. Takaaki Nakagami Aprilia 2m00.445s + 2.311
23. Jonas Folger Aprilia 2m00.672s + 2.538
24. Luigi Morciano Aprilia 2m01.206s + 3.072
25. Lukas Sembera Aprilia 2m01.406s + 3.272
26. Davide Stirpe Honda 2m01.425s + 3.291
27. Alessandro Tonucci Aprilia 2m01.814s + 3.680
28. Tomoyoshi Koyama Loncin 2m02.353s + 4.219
29. Gennaro Sabatino Aprilia 2m02.821s + 4.687
30. Jasper Iwema Honda 2m03.135s + 5.001
31. Alexis Masbou Loncin 2m03.226s + 5.092
32. Luca Marconi Aprilia 2m04.577s + 6.443
33. Luca Vitali Aprilia 2m05.793s + 7.659