Jorge Lorenzo claimed his third consecutive MotoGP pole position by coming out on top of a spectacular late fight in Malaysia.
Going into the closing minutes of Sepang qualifying, championship leader Lorenzo was down in fourth, and facing the possibility of starting behind not only his title rival Dani Pedrosa, but the latter's Honda teammate Casey Stoner and Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso.
Pedrosa had been the pacesetter for most of qualifying, before Tech 3 Yamaha's Dovizioso became the first man to go for a proper pole shot and hit the front.
Pedrosa soon reclaimed first place, although Dovizioso fought back and produced a 2m00.567s to return to provisional pole with his final flying lap. That was swiftly beaten by Pedrosa's 2m00.528s, but Lorenzo was going even quicker and delivered a 2m00.434s.
Even though that would have been sufficient for pole, with no one looking set to beat it, Lorenzo still stayed out for another lap and improved to a 2m00.334s to put matters beyond doubt. Dovizioso retained third ahead of Stoner, Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies.
Hector Barbera showed his best form since his injury absence to take seventh on the Pramac Ducati. The works Desmosedicis were only ninth (Nicky Hayden) and 11th (Valentino Rossi), split by late crasher Alvaro Bautista.
Aleix Espargaro beat his Aspar teammate Randy de Puniet in the CRT fight.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2m00.334s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 2m00.528s + 0.194s
3. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha 2m00.567s + 0.233s
4. Casey Stoner Honda 2m00.811s + 0.477s
5. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 2m01.178s + 0.844s
6. Ben Spies Yamaha 2m01.185s + 0.851s
7. Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati 2m01.294s + 0.960s
8. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 2m01.491s + 1.157s
9. Nicky Hayden Ducati 2m01.526s + 1.192s
10. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 2m01.640s + 1.306s
11. Valentino Rossi Ducati 2m01.783s + 1.449s
12. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 2m02.842s + 2.508s
13. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 2m03.389s + 3.055s
14. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 2m03.774s + 3.440s
15. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda 2m04.152s + 3.818s
16. James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia 2m04.515s + 4.181s
17. Danilo Petrucci Ioda Suter-BMW 2m04.726s + 4.392s
18. Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW 2m04.941s + 4.607s
19. Roberto Rolfo Speed Master Aprilia 2m05.100s + 4.766s
20. Ivan Silva Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 2m05.921s + 5.587s
21. Yonny Hernandez Avintia FTR-Kawasaki - -