A few seconds later, it was the turn of Victor Garcia (KMP Racing) to get caught out, this time at Ste Devote, while Rossi himself erred at Massenet, bringing out the red flag with the American still in first place, ahead of Ricciardo and Costa.
The drivers took to the track again for a final four minutes, and the last lap proved decisive. Under the chequered flag, Costa seemed to take pole with a lap of 1min 26.592secs but, hard on his tail, Ricciardo went one better, clocking 1min 26.230secs to topple the Spaniard from top spot.
“This was the pole position to win if ever there was one!" the Australian enthused, "It all played out in the last lap, fairly typically on a street circuit, as everyone tries to up the pace, taking more and more risks as long as we don't touch the barriers... I was being a little bit cautious, but Simon Abadie, my team manager, told me over the radio to give it everything!
"Pole position is the first step here, next it's the start that will be decisive. For the minute, though, I couldn't be happier with where I am right now...“