Championship leader Valentino Rossi continued his strong form by taking pole position at Donington Park after looking to struggle for most of the session.
The Italian trailed his three title rivals throughout the one-hour qualifying session until three minutes from the end, when he stopped the clock at 1m28.116s to demote Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo down to second.
Further attempts by Rossi and Honda's Dani Pedrosa got close but did not improve on that lap time, but Rossi impressed with his overall pace, with his three last laps all under the 1m22.2s barrier.
Pedrosa ended up second quickest, less than a tenth behind Rossi, with Lorenzo two tenths further back completing the front row.
Casey Stoner, who crashed his Ducati mid-way through the session and had to walk back to the pits, had to settle for fourth, followed by Andrea Dovizioso's Honda and Colin Edwards's Tech 3 Yamaha.
Marco Melandri qualified his Hayate Kawasaki in seventh, ahead of Toni Elias (Gresini Honda), James Toseland (Tech 3 Yamaha), and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) completing the top 10.
Former world champion Nicky Hayden, who showed improved form in the last two races, qualified his Ducati in a disappointing 15th position, with the American also going off the track twice but rejoining with no consequences.TIMES:
Pos Rider Bike Time Bike
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m28.116s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m28.211s + 0.095s
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m28.402s + 0.286s
4. Casey Stoner Ducati 1m28.446s + 0.330s
5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m28.778s + 0.662s
6. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m28.865s + 0.749s
7. Marco Melandri Hayate Kawasaki 1m29.065s + 0.949s
8. Toni Elias Gresini Honda 1m29.175s + 1.059s
9. James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 1m29.270s + 1.154s
10. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m29.434s + 1.318s
11. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 1m29.599s + 1.483s
12. Alex de Angelis Gresini Honda 1m29.600s + 1.484s
13. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1m30.098s + 1.982s
14. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m30.153s + 2.037s
15. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m30.268s + 2.152s
16. Niccolo Canepa Pramac Ducati 1m30.572s + 2.456s
17. Gabor Talmacsi Scot Honda 1m31.193s + 3.077s