Jorge Lorenzo said he was determined to show his speed by taking pole position at Sepang, as he does not expect to challenge for the win in tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Needing only ninth position to clinch his first title, the points leader intimated that he will be riding conservatively in the race to get the points he needs.
"I really wanted to fight for the pole position today because tomorrow I know it's going to be difficult to fight for the victory," said Lorenzo. "The moment is arriving, this moment is very important for my career."
Lorenzo had also been fastest in morning practice, and fought back to take pole at the end of qualifying after briefly being usurped by a shock lap from Ducati's Nicky Hayden.
"I pushed to the maximum for this pole position," said Lorenzo. "We still have some problems on the bike that we haven't solved, but anyway with what we have we did a very good lap and tomorrow we're starting in the best position."