Jorge Lorenzo has secured pole for the Japanese MotoGP after a careful session at a very wet Motegi.
The bad weather in Japan saw the usual qualifying shoot-out system abandoned in favour of the old-style format over 75 minutes.
Lorenzo led for the majority of the session, with a lap in the final quarter giving him his fourth pole position of the season.
"I'm very happy to get my second pole position in a row after Phillip Island,” the 26-year-old told Motorcycle News.
“It took me a long time to get my confidence back, as the last time I rode in the wet was at Assen [where he broke his collarbone].
“I'm glad we had so much time so I could get comfortable on the bike again."
Championship leader Marc Marquez will start the race on the front row with Lorenzo, but he could have had pole himself.
Towards the end of the session the Honda rider was on a quick flying lap but ran wide and out of time, having to settle for second place alongside Lorenzo.
The wet qualifying sprang the usual surprises as Ducati’s Nicky Hayden secured third on the grid, in front of Marquez’ team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
Valentino Rossi was fifth and he was followed by a similarly impressive Ducati showing from Hayden’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
One of the big surprises from the erratic weather was that of the Tech 3 Yamahas’ performance.
Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith – fourth and sixth respectively at last week’s Australian MotoGP – had a torrid time in the wet and were only able to qualify in 11th and 13th place.
The silver lining for Crutchlow and Smith, and perhaps a few others, is that a dry race is expected tomorrow.
There will be a 50-minute warm-up session before then to give time for a race setup, with the race expected to begin at 0500 UK time.
1 Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 01min 53.471secs
2. Marc Marquez (Spa) Honda +0.658 seconds
3. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati +1.068
4. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda +1.071
5. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha +1.261
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Ducati +1.565