Dani Pedrosa narrowly beat Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner to the fastest time in final MotoGP practice at Sepang.
The Honda rider, who has taken pole for the last two Malaysian Grands Prix, was in front for almost the entire hour.
Pedrosa chipped away at his fastest time with almost every run, getting down from an early 2m01.941s to a 2m01.427s just after the half hour mark, which put the Spaniard six tenths of a second clear of his rivals at the time.
The pack soon crept closer though, with Stoner (Ducati) getting within 0.058 seconds in the closing moments, and then Rossi (Yamaha) only missing Pedrosa's time by 0.019s with his final lap. Both were up on Pedrosa earlier in their laps, but lost time in the final sectors - nearly 0.3s in Rossi's case.
Jorge Lorenzo was fourth on the second Yamaha, 0.377s off the pace, and 0.3s ahead of the contest over fifth, which saw feverish place swapping between Andrea Dovizioso (Honda), Toni Elias (Gresini Honda) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati) during the last runs.
Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards was eighth - eight places and 1.6s ahead of his struggling team-mate James Toseland. Pramac Ducati rider Mika Kallio took ninth, ahead of Loris Capirossi's Suzuki.
Pos Driver Bike Time Gap
1. Dani Pedrosa Honda 2m01.427s
2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2mo1.446s + 0.019s
3. Casey Stoner Ducati 2m01.485s + 0.058s
4. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2m01.804s + 0.377s
5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2m02.076s + 0.649s
6. Toni Elias Gresini Honda 2m02.181s + 0.754s
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati 2m02.416s + 0.989s
8. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 2m02.425s + 0.998s
9. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 2m02.607s + 1.180s
10. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 2m02.825s + 1.398s
11. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 2m02.993s + 1.566s
12. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 2m03.181s + 1.754s
13. Alex de Angelis Gresini Honda 2m03.220s + 1.793s
14. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 2m03.458s + 2.031s
15. Marco Melandri Hayate Kawasaki 2m03.732s + 2.305s
16. James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 2m04.078s + 2.651s
17. Gabor Talmacsi Scot Honda 2m04.492s + 3.065s