By Lisa Lewis

Title contenders Alex Rins, Luis Salom and Maverick Vinales will form the front row of Sunday's grid for the Valencia Moto3 championship showdown.

Just five points cover Salom, Vinales and Rins respectively, meaning a win for each would hand them the crown. The title protagonists did not disappoint in qualifying, swapping top times and filling the top three places.

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Estrella Galicia rider Rins gave himself the advantage, taking his eighth pole of the season and ninth of his career with a new circuit best lap time of 1m 39.459.

Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Salom starts from second after setting a time just 0.016 behind that of Rins.

Salom had topped all the practice sessions but experienced the toughest time of the trio around the Cheste circuit.

After having mechanical issues in the morning there was cause for concern when he was pictured needing a push with just thirteen minutes remaining as Rins continued to improve. A stint in the garage saw him return and set the second fastest time, leaving the title battle beautifully poised.

Vinales completed the all-Spanish, all-KTM front row for Team Calvo.

Vinales had looked out of contention in Australia but crashes for Salom and Rins in Motegi complimented by a second place finish brought him back into the hunt. He starts his title campaign from third on the grid.

Caretta Technology rider Jack Miller and Aspar's Jonas Folger had kept themselves in the mix throughout the practice sessions and delivered on their good form in qualifying in fourth and fifth respectively. Miller was also the top Honda qualifier.

Niccolo Antonelli secured sixth on the grid for Gresini, while Motegi's race winner Alex Marquez could only manage the seventh best time for Estrella Galicia.

Alexis Masbou qualified in eighth for Ongetta-Rivacold ahead of Zulfahmi Khairuddin, one of the few riders to improve on their last lap after the flag, who moved up to ninth for the Red Bull Team.

Efren Vazquez was the best of the Mahindra riders in tenth.

Eleventh went to San Carlo team Italia's Romano Fenati with twelfth on the grid going to South African rider Brad Binder despite a big crash in practice for the Ambrogio Racing rider.

Ana Carassco also impressed, her learning curve had seen her take her first point for Team Calvo during the flyaways in Sepang and set her best qualifying in Australia in seventh. She continued her success with a thirteenth place start at a circuit where she has great experience.

Philipp Oettl also continued his strong second half to the season and starts from 14th for the Interwetten team.

John McPhee's bike continued to cause him trouble as he and his mechanics could only find enough to secure him 16th on the grid for Caretta Technology-RTG.

There were crashes for Kiefer's Florian Alt, Hyuga Watanabe and Mahindra's Miguel Oliveira, leaving him down in 17th position.