Raffaele de Rosa claimed an unexpected first 250cc pole on his last lap of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

The Italian - riding in his first season in 250 after four years with no podiums and only one pole in 125 - snatched pole from fellow Italian, and reigning 250cc world champion, Marco Simoncelli by 0.225sec.

de Rosa's Scot Honda team-mate and title leader Hiroshi Aoyama jumped from sixth to third on his last lap, with Alex Debon completing the front row in fourth.

Hector Barbera, fastest on Friday despite a painful highside, will head row two with Aoyama's nearest title rival Alvaro Bautista managing only tenth position for Aspar Aprilia.

In a repeat of Friday practice, a heavy rain shower doused the seaside circuit at the start of the quarter-litre session - prompting numerous riders to fall - before conditions improved once again.

Qualifying - Phillip Island:

1. de Rosa (Honda) 1min 33.389sec
2. Simoncelli (Gilera) +0.225sec
3. H. Aoyama (Honda) +0.244sec
4. Debon (Aprilia) +0.497sec
5. Barbera (Aprilia) +0.539sec
6. di Meglio (Aprilia) +0.641sec
7. Wilairot (Honda) +0.725sec
8. Pasini (Aprilia) +0.803sec
9. Faubel (Honda) +0.896sec
10. Bautista (Aprilia) +1.199sec