Julian Simon has taken pole position for the first round of the 2009 125cc World Championship, in Qatar.
Pre-season favourite Simon, making his 125cc return after two seasons in the 250cc class, moved to the head of the field with 15 minutes of the 40 minute session left to run.
Aspar Aprilia team-mate Bradley Smith, on pole at Qatar last season and second to Simon on Friday, toppled the Spaniard as the final ten minutes began - and the pair continued to dispute pole until the chequered flag, when Simon claimed his first ever grand prix pole by just 0.133sec from Smith.
Early session leader Andrea Iannone claimed third position, 0.614sec from Simon, with Nicolas Terol completing an all-Aprilia front row.
Qualifying - Qatar:
1. Simon (Aprilia) 2min 6.974sec
2. Smith (Aprilia) +0.133sec
3. Iannone (Aprilia) +0.614sec
4. Terol (Aprilia) +0.807sec
5. Cortese (Derbi) +0.861sec
6. Gadea (Aprilia) +1.173sec
7. Bradl (Aprilia) +1.174sec
8. Espargaro (Derbi) +1.406sec
9. Marquez (KTM) +1.443sec
10. Folger (Aprilia) +1.450sec
11. Redding (Aprilia) +1.707sec
13. Webb (Aprilia) +1.997sec
31. Hoyle (Haojue) +8.612sec