Jorge Lorenzo claimed pole position for Sunday's final race of the MotoGP Championship season in Valencia.
The 28-year-old two-time champion, who is seven points behind leader Valentino Rossi, registered a new lap record of one minute, 30.011 seconds.
Marc Marquez was second 0.488 seconds behind, with Dani Pedrosa third.
Italy's Rossi, 36, who must finish second to take the title if Lorenzo wins the race, failed with a grid penalty appeal and starts at the back.
The seven-time MotoGP champion fell on turn eight and was only 12th fastest in qualifying, 1.460 seconds behind Lorenzo.
It was Lorenzo's fifth pole of the season and he smashed defending world champion Marquez's previous track record at the Ricardo Tormo circuit by over two tenths of a second.
"It was my best lap ever and I couldn't believe it when I saw the time," Lorenzo said.
"If I tried it again 100 times I don't think I could do this lap time. The most important thing is the grid position though for Sunday."
Meanwhile in Moto 3, Danny Kent will become the first Briton to win a grand prix motorcycle world championship in any class since the late Barry Sheene won the 500cc title in 1977 if he finishes in the top 14 places.
However, the 21-year-old was only 18th in qualifying, 0.649 seconds behind compatriot John McPhee, who took pole on his Honda in one minute 39.364 seconds.