By Lisa Lewis
Luis Salom secured his second pole position of the season, his first since the opening race of the year, with a well timed run aboard his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine.
The Spaniard, who won in Mugello and currently sits second in the championship, got in a fast lap in the final minutes to displace Alex Rins, who had been consistently at the top of the standings during the session.
Rins held on to second for the Estrella Galicia team as the competition for the remaining places started to heat up at the sweltering Barcelona circuit.
The final place on the front row went to Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira – the only non-Spanish rider inside the top seven, for the ever improving Mahindra team.
Alex Marquez made gains on his final run to head up the second row for the Estrella Galicia outfit in fourth.
Team Calvo's Maverick Vinales had hectic and difficult session en route to fifth on the grid.
The championship leader had a high-side at turn ten, flying over the handlebars and landing on his head after just eight minutes, directly after setting the then fastest lap.
Both rider and bike were fit enough to ride back to the pits where the KTM needed a replacement left handlebar.
The Spaniard then pulled his bike over onto the grass in front of pitlane with just ten minutes of the session remaining, with his bike smoking, the broken engine ending his qualifying and leaving him to watch the proceedings unfold from the pits.
A returning Efren Vazquez made it an excellent qualifying for Mahindra with two bikes inside the top ten as he secured a sixth place start.
The remainder of the top ten was filled by the fastest of the FTR Honda riders.
Maverick's cousin Isaac continued to have a strong weekend, after leading the Friday practice times he remains in contention for a good result for the Bimbo-Ongetta-Centro Seta team after qualifying in seventh.
Jack Miller was in the mix for the top positions for much of the session and takes eighth for Caretta Technology.
Niccolo Antonelli, fresh from his first finish of the year in Italy starts ninth for Go & Fun Gresini while Alexis Masbou completes the top ten for Ongetta Rivacold.
After a run of credible qualifying and racing results both British riders struggled to find a competitive pace with Caretta Technology's John Mcphee starting 20th, just one place ahead of Ambrogio's Danny Webb.