By Lisa Lewis
Maverick Vinales qualified on pole for the first time this season after leading Moto3 qualifying from start to finish at Le Mans, setting a new Moto3 lap record in the process.
The Team Calvo rider dominated at the scene of his maiden Grand Prix win and after consistently improving finished fastest with a time of 1m 43.696.
The battle for the remaining places was intense with Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira snatching second after a string of fast late laps, eventually pushing to just 0.1 behind the leading Spaniard.
In doing so Oliveira matched his own previous best qualifying performance and set a new standard for the Mahindra Team, who were also the only non-KTM machine inside the top five.
The final spot on the front row went to Mapfre Aspar's Jonas Folger, his Kalex KTM was narrowly ahead of Estrella Galicia rider Alex Rins who had to settle for fourth.
Fifth on the grid went to red Bull KTM rider Luis Salom who had a quiet session after a trip to hospital following his crash into the air fence in the final corner in practice.
Jack Miller starts from sixth, the highest placing Honda rider. Both he and team-mate John McPhee have a new fairing for their Caretta Technology bikes this weekend.
Alex Marquez shot into seventh on his final lap of the track for the Estrella Galicia outfit, giving them two bikes inside the top ten.
Maverick Vinales cousin, Isaac, placed eighth for Sunday's race for the Bimbo-Ongetta-Centro Seta team while Avant Tenco's Niklas Ajo and Frenchman Alexis Masbou of Ongetta Rivacold also made the top ten.