Julian Simon kept the pressure on team-mate and title leader Bradley Smith by taking has third pole position of the 2009 season during 125cc qualifying in Catalunya.

The Aspar Aprilia rider, looking to overturn Smith's 3.5 point lead on Sunday, took exceptional measures to avoid towing his rivals around in the closing minutes - then failed to improve on his previous 1min 51.448sec best - but that proved good enough to keep nearest rival Pol Espargaro at bay by just 0.020sec.

Young German star Jonas Folger snatched third position for Ongetta Aprilia with Swiss Randy Krummenacher completing the front row for the Degraaf Aprilia squad.

Sergio Gadea was the second best Aspar rider in fifth, with Nicolas Terol nudging Smith down to seventh. Fellow double 2009 race winner Andrea Iannone rounds out row two.

Qualifying - Catalunya:

1. Simon (Aprilia) 1min 51.448
2. Espargaro (Derbi) +0.020sec
3. Folger (Aprilia) +0.339sec
4. Krummenacher (Aprilia) +0.356sec
5. Gadea (Aprilia) +0.376sec
6. Terol (Aprilia) +0.510sec
7. Smith (Aprilia) +0.761sec
8. Iannone (Aprilia) +0.936sec
9. Bradl (Aprilia) +0.984sec
10. Redding (Aprilia) +1.088sec

11. Webb (Aprilia) +1.100sec