The Briton beat championship leaders Maverick Vinales and Sandro Cortese to top spot, as qualifying boiled down to a thrilling three-way shootout in the final two minutes.
Kent was the first to make his move, going fastest with a 1m58.804s.
Cortese soon demoted him however, setting a new weekend best of 1m8.669s just moments before the chequered flag fell.
Kent and Vinales were both out on track however and were both under Cortese's new benchmark.
Vinales crossed the line first, going top for all of two seconds before Kent, benefiting from Vinales's slipstream, sealed pole with a 1m58.371s, two tenths clear of the pack.
His Ajo KTM team-mate Zulfahmi Khairuddin will start directly behind him in fourth, meaning Vinales was the only Honda rider to crack the top four.
Alessandro Tonucci (Italia FMI FTR-Honda) almost joined him, running fourth until Khairuddin demoted him in the final minute.
Luis Salom (RW Kalex-KTM) likewise improved late on to relegate Jonas Folger (Aspar Kalex KTM) into seventh.
Folger suffered two bike failures during the session, the latter of which came five minutes from the end, forcing him to miss the final moments of the session.
- Sandro Cortese