Reigning world champion Marco Simoncelli has taken pole position for the 250cc German Grand Prix at a wet Sachsenring.

The Metis Gilera rider was untouchable for much of the session, but finished with an advantage of just 0.143sec after late pressure from Hector Barbera.

Simoncelli's pole time would have placed him second, behind only Valentino Rossi, on the MotoGP grid. Barbera would have been third. Simoncelli will race for Honda Gresini in MotoGP next season.

Barbera, on pole for the last two rounds and fastest on Friday, was the only rider within one second of Simoncelli, while world championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama looked to have claimed third for Scot Honda on his very last lap - only for title rival Alvaro Batista to snatch the position from him moments later.

Those improvements pushed Czech Karel Abraham off a shock front row, while Mattia Pasini recovered from multiple falls to place sixth.

Qualifying - Sachsenring:

1. Simoncelli (Gilera) 1min 32.962sec
2. Barbera (Aprilia) +0.143sec
3. Bautista (Aprilia) +1.284sec
4. Aoyama (Honda) +1.323sec
5. Abraham (Aprilia) +1.350sec
6. Pasini (Aprilia) +1.371sec
7. Debon (Aprilia) +1.670sec
8. Faubel (Honda) +1.698sec
9. Espargaro (Aprilia) +1.756sec
10. di Meglio (Aprilia) +1.842sec

22. Markham (Aprilia) +4.977sec