By Lisa Lewis

Alexis Masbou's slipstreaming perfection guaranteed the Frenchman pole position for the Moto3 Grand Prix at the Losail International Circuit, setting an unbeatable 2m 06.170 - the best lap of the weekend so far- on his Honda as the field scrapped for position, coming from the back of a four-rider pack to steal the advantage.

The 27 year-old SaxoPrint RTG rider sits on pole for the first time ever at his 141st Grand Prix weekend.

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Those able to pick up an advantage behind other riders fared best, with Isaac Vinales also pulling out from behind Danny Kent and Jules Danilo to set the second best time on his Husqvarna Factory Laglisse.

Niccolo Antonelli had set the early pace on his Honda, and held on near the front after improving his benchmark time late on to take the third and final spot on the front of the grid for Ongetta-Rivacold.

Mapfre Team Mahindra rider Francesco Bagnaia secured fourth with a final dash as the flag was waved to end the session. Though fastest into the final sector, the lack of a tow saw him unable to challenge for pole.

A scintillating final lap behind Miguel Oliveira pulled John McPhee up to take fifth on the grid, the top British rider as he continues to improve and adjust to his new SaxoPrint machine.

Top rookie honours in qualifying went to Fabio Quartararo, who slots his Estrella Galicia 0,0 into sixth, beating his team-mate and fellow rookie rival Jorge Navarro, who starts 12th.

Gresini's Andrea Locatelli sits in seventh, Miguel Oliveira (red Bull KTM Ajo) found himself pushed to eighth and despite his practice form Leopard Racing rider Kent starts ninth - one place ahead of his team-mate Efren Vazquez, who completes the top ten.

Times were tight - the top 17 were all within a second of Masbou's pole lap.

Further down the order Livio Loi (RW Racing GP) battled to 11th and Hiroki Ono (Leopard Racing) slotted into 15th.

Romano Fenati once again struggled in qualifying, a feature of his 2014 season, and starts 17th, while fellow Italian Enea Bastianini also found the going tough and is 21st on the grid.

Marco Bezzecchi, replacing Stefano Manzi for the San Carlo Team Italia team this weekend as he only turns 16 on Sunday, was the first faller and the last as he crashed out again towards the end of the session.

With no rider currently in the Moto3 field having previously won at Qatar, Sunday's race guarantees a new winner at Losail in the class.