Jaume Masia lit up Le Mans with the fastest ever lap around the famous circuit for the Moto3 class to claim pole for the French Grand Prix.

The Leopard racing rider claimed his first pole position of the year in style as he posted the fastest lap as the chequered flag waved. With enough time for one final flying lap the Spaniard slotted his Honda in behind John McPhee and pushed even harder to drop his own best to the new record of 1m 41.399s.

Albert Arenas briefly dislodged his fellow countryman with his last lap. Despite using Gabriel Rodrigo, who was ahead of him on track to gain a strong slipstream over the line, the Gaviota Aspar rider had to settle for second but was just 0.020s slower and the top KTM too.

After losing his title lead to Ai Ogura last time out Arenas is the best placed of the title contenders for Sunday’s race as Ogura fell in Q2, leaving the Honda Team Asia rider unable to set a time.

McPhee, who crashed out with Arenas at Emilia Romagna, left it late to set any time at all. After having his early efforts cancelled as they were set under yellow flag conditions the Petronas Sprinta rider rallied to claim third. McPhee converted pole to a win at the French Grand Prix last season.

Estrella Galicia’s Sergio Garcia claimed his best grid position to date in fourth. The place was originally filled by FP3 pace-setter Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) before his lap was cancelled, moving him down to ninth.

Rodrigo had an eventful qualifying on his Kommerling Gresini machine. The Argentinian made it through Q1 despite a late crash on his way to fifth on the grid.

Tony Arbolino set pole at the last round. This time out the Italian did enough for sixth for Rivacold Snipers to complete row two.

Ayumu Sasaki will line up seventh for Red Bull KTM Tech 3, with early session leader Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team Husqvarna) pushed down to eighth by the time the clock hit zero.

The Sky Racing Team VR 46 team-mates once again worked in unison, Celestino Vietti gained the most benefit in tenth, while a crash prevented Andrea Migno doing any better than 13th.

Dennis Foggia moved up to eleventh after graduating from Q1 on the second Leopard entry - Kaito Toba had lead the quartet through but fell, as did Ryusei Yamanaka, leaving the pair without a time to their name, along with fellow Japanese rider Ogura.

The cold track continued to cause it’s share of spills with Niccolo Antonelli just missing out of moving up from Q2 following his late off.

His Sic58 Squadra Corse team-mate could only manage a best of sixth in the same session, so Suzuki will line up 20th.