World championship leader Jorge Lorenzo beat his main rival Dani Pedrosa to pole position at the Malaysian MotoGP.
Yamaha's Lorenzo, 28 points clear in the standings, clocked two minutes, 0.344 seconds at the Sepang circuit.
Fellow Spaniard Pedrosa was 0.194 secs behind on board his Repsol Honda, with Lorenzo's team-mate, Italy's Andrea Dovizioso, third fastest.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow recorded the fifth-best time, behind Australia's Casey Stoner.
Lorenzo - who set a new lap record on his way to pole - could lift his second title this weekend if he wins and Pedrosa fails to finish in the top 12.
Crutchlow said: "After qualifying on the front row at the last four races I should be pretty disappointed with fifth position and I am. To be honest I am not happy with the performance of the bike
"We have a lot of work to do tonight. If the situation remains the same for the race it will be really difficult and demanding."
Britain's Scott Redding will start from second on the grid in the Moto2 race, behind pole setter Pol Espargaro, while Malaysian Zulfahmi Khairuddin will be on pole in the Moto3 class in his home race.
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 2:00.334
2. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 2:00.528
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Yamaha 2:00.567
4. Casey Stoner (Aus) Honda 2:00.811
5. Cal Crutchlow (GB) Yamaha 2:01.178
6. Ben Spies (US) Yamaha 2:01.185
7. Hector Barbera (Spa) Ducati 2:01.294
8. Stefan Bradl (Ger) Honda 2:01.491
9. Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati 2:01.526
10. Alvaro Bautista (Spa) Honda 2:01.640