Aron Canet won the battle for pole in an extremely close Valencia Moto2 qualifying session ahead of the season finale at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Just making it under the chequered flag for a final time attack, that lap proved vital for the Pons Wegow Los40 rider - with a lap of 1m33.314s taking the top slot on the grid.
It gave Canet plenty of time to show off his replica Sito Pons helmet, dedicated to the exiting team boss after being a long term fixture in the paddock.
Fermin Aldeguer was not ready to give up on another chance at pole but for the second round in a row, just missed out.
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Previously, after new champion Acosta dominated Friday, Aldeguer had done what he has managed so well over the last few rounds and set the best time ahead of qualifying in P3.
That was a new lap record, with it being lowered in every session to that point, with his new best a 1m 33.264s. Qualifying saw it stand as neither he nor Canet ahead could match it, leaving the CAG Speed Up rider second on the Boscoscuro, 0.174s behind his fellow countryman.
There will be an all Spanish front row in Moto2 in Valencia. Continuing to build on his podium in Sepang, Marcos Ramirez continued to make the most of his opportunity with American Racing securing a front row start in third.
Lowes signs off in style
Sam Lowes begins his 155th and last grand prix in the paddock from fourth. The Elf Marc VDS rider had been leading into the final minutes but the tight margins in Moto2 saw him slip off the front row despite improving, only 0.259s off pole himself.
Lowes is joined on row two by fellow British rider Jake Dixon, who is looking to hold onto third in the championship. The Inde GasGas Aspar rider has a tough job as his rival for the slot - Aldeguer - is ahead of him on the grid, and the winner of the last three races.
His last run saw the 2023 champion Pedro Acosta move up a place to sixth, having picked up more places to climb form ninth on his previous lap. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider pushed back Joe Roberts - on pole just last Saturday in Qatar - to seventh for Italtrans. The American was the best of the riders to graduate from Q1.
Gresini’s Filip Salac topped that session, he moved on to eighth in Q2.
Albert Arenas on the second Red Bull KTM Ajo and another Q1 graduate, Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Somkiat Chantra, completed the top ten.
Celestino Vietti was close behind in eleventh for Fantic Racing. Dennis Foggia was the best of the rookies in qualifying, his late season improvements continuing as he settles into Moto2 with Italtrans for twelfth.
What happened in Q1?
Late pace saw Salac claim the top time in Q1, taking over from Chantra who progressed with the second best effort. The duo were joined in Q2 by Ai Ogura (17th) and Roberts.
Arbolino stuck in Q1
Recent qualifying woes continued for Tony Arbolino, who despite a flurry of late personal best laps, could not find the difference to hit the top four. He will start the last race of the season from 19th for Elf Marc VDS.
Early pacesetter Alex Escrig fell back to eighth overall, for 22nd on the grid for the Forward Team.
Jeremy Alcolba ran out very wide at the start of the session on his way to 23rd for Gresini, while Taiga Hada (Pertamina Mandalika SAG) crashed out, leaving him 28th.
Injuries and replacements
Moto2 remains the only class with nobody absent through injury. There are two additional wildcard entries for the final round of the season. Hector Garzo qualified in 28th for Fieten Olie Racing. Matteo Ferrari is in Spain with QJMotor Gresini. He placed slightly higher up the grid in 24th.