Sky Racing Team VR46's 16-year-old rider Nicolo Bulega secured his first pole in grand prix racing in just his fifth race, with the field tripping each other up in the latter stages of qualifying for the Moto3 Grand Prix race in Jerez.
Bulega's best lap of 1m 46.223s came at the mid-way part of the session and stood as traffic and crashes hindered the main opposition.
The Italian has previous good form in Jerez, winning the CEV race at the circuit last year from a pole start.
Championship leader Brad Binder, still searching for his first win in the class on the Red Bull KTM Ajo, got held up on his last run for a fast lap, but had already done enough to maintain his consistent start to the season in second.
Joining the KTM pair is Honda's Jorge Navarro. The best placed of the home riders for Estrella Galicia 0,0 the Spaniard complained that it was hard to get a fast lap in with so many others trying to follow him.
An impressive spell from Francesco Bagnaia saw him steal fourth on the grid for Aspar, the best of the Mahindra riders.
He is joined on row two by Ongetta-Rivacold's Niccolo Antonelli and Gresini's Enea Bastianini both of whom played a waiting game to see how their times would hold after falling late in the session.
Joan Mir heads up row three for Leopard Rcaing in seventh and is joined by Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) and the second Sky Racing entry piloted by Romano Fenati in ninth.
Jakub Kornfeil completes the top ten on the grid for Drive M7 SIC Racing.
Last years pole rider, also a rookie at the time – Fabio Quartararo – took the flag in twelfth.
Albert Arenas joins the Aspar Mahindra team from this round onwards and took a 16th place start on his return.
Elsewhere Britains John McPhee picked up time after suffering gearbox issues for 25th, just behind Argentina winner Khairul Idham Pawi in 24th and comfortably ahead of his Peugeot Saxoprint Mahindra team-mate Alexis Masbou who could only manage 30th.
Wild-cards in Jerez come courtesy of Alex Rins' Procercasa 42 Motorsport team, Davide Pizzoli and Enzo Boulom, Pizzoli crashed on his way to 29th, Boulom starts 35th.
Karel Hanika was the first and only other faller.