By Lisa Lewis
Tuenti HP 40 rider Pol Espargaro took pole in the opening Moto2 qualifying session for 2013 under the floodlights at Losail in Qatar on Saturday evening, during an eventful session which saw his mechanics rushing to repair his bike after crashing after just seven minutes.
Espargaro, who had dominated the pre-season testing schedule, set the fastest time of the session as qualifying drew to a close, denying Japanese rider Nakagami who had been battling for the top spot with British rider Scott Redding for much of the session.
Italtrans rider Nakagami had already finished practice with the fastest overall time and topped two of the sessions aboard his Kalex but struggled for pace in the final sector of the track, leaving the door open to have the top spot stolen away.
A hot lap from Marc VDS man Mika Kallio saw him take the final spot on the front row ahead of his team-mate Redding, completing a dominant performance for Kalex with either a Kalex or Pons Kalex in all the top four spots.
Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter remained consistent for the Technomag carXpert team slowly improving through qualifying to finish the session in fifth and the fastest of the Suter riders.
Julian Simon starts from sixth for the Italtrans team, while fellow former junior class champion Nico Terol qualified in seventh for Mapfre Aspar.
Espargaro's team-mate Tito Rabat ran as high as second during the session and starts from eighth on the grid.
Marcel Schrotter began his first full Moto2 campaign by putting in a flying lap good enough for ninth place for his Desguaces La Torre SAG team while sole Motobi rider Mike Di Meglio put in a strong performance to complete the top ten.
Eleveth and twelfth were filled by NGM team-mates Simone Corsi and Alex De Angelis while 2012 Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese improved on his pre-season form and despite crashing and landing on his head still qualifies 13th for the Dynavolt Intact team.
Winner of the first ever Moto2 championship Toni Elias starts down in 20th for Blusens Avintia.
British rookie riders Kyle Smith (Blusens Avintia) and Moto3 race winner Danny Kent (Tech3) will start from 28th and 26th respectively.
Interwetten rider Tom Luthi is absent from the Qatar grand prix as he continues his recovery for the injuries he sustained during his collision at the Valencia test and is expected to miss at least the first two rounds, his replacement Sergio Gadea had a big crash directly after Espargaro's early off and qualifies 32nd and last.
Axel Pons also crashed out late in the session at turn ten and placed 21st as did NGM's Mattia Pasini who starts from 25th.
New to the Moto2 class for 2013 is the minimum weight limit of 215kg which covers the bike, it's rider and a set of racing leathers