16-year-old Marco Simoncelli surprised the 125cc field by dominating first qualifying for the Valencia Grand Prix, finishing the session some 0.7secs clear of his nearest rival.

With rain having fallen after their free practice session, the eighth-litre riders took to a drying track effectively 'blind' this afternoon, and it would take 20 of the 30-minutes before the pace approached potential pole standard in the sub 1min 45s.

That time was set by Matteoni Aprilia rider Simoncelli, who would enjoy a near 1secs advantage over nearest rivals Stefano Perugini, Gino Borsoi and Hector Barbera as the final runs began.

Reigning champion Arnaud Vincent, then Casey Stoner, would demote Perugini et al soon after, but Simoncelli remained safe (despite being briefly overtaken by Vincent) as he punched out ever quicker laps right to the flag for an eyebrow raising provisional pole.

Gabor Talmacsi would come closest to the Italian, but was still 0.7secs behind, while Stoner and Jenkner completed the provisional front row with Dovizioso, Vincent, Bautista and Giansanti following.

Stoner's team-mate Cecchinello, who will retire after Sunday's race to concentrate on running his LCR Aprilia team, finished 22nd.

Full times to follow...

1. Simoncelli
2. Talmacsi
3. Stoner
4. Jenkner
5. Dovizioso
6. Vincent
7. Bautista
8. Giansanti



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