Jorge Lorenzo claimed his third consecutive MotoGP pole position by coming out on top of a spectacular late fight in Malaysia.
Going into the closing minutes of Sepang qualifying, championship leader Lorenzo was down in fourth, and facing the possibility of starting behind not only his title rival Dani Pedrosa, but the latter's Honda team-mate Casey Stoner and Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso.
Pedrosa had been the pacesetter for most of qualifying, before Tech 3 Yamaha's Dovizioso became the first man to go for a proper pole shot and hit the front.
Pedrosa soon reclaimed first place, although Dovizioso fought back and produced a 2m00.567s to return to provisional pole with his final flying lap.
That was swiftly beaten by Pedrosa's 2m00.528s, but Lorenzo was going even quicker and delivered a 2m00.434s.
Even though that would have been sufficient for pole, with no one looking set to beat it, Lorenzo still stayed out for another lap and improved to a 2m00.334s to put matters beyond doubt.
Dovizioso retained third ahead of Stoner, Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies.
Hector Barbera showed his best form since his injury absence to take seventh on the Pramac Ducati. The works Desmosedicis were only ninth (Nicky Hayden) and 11th (Valentino Rossi), split by late crasher Alvaro Bautista.
Aleix Espargaro beat his Aspar team-mate Randy de Puniet in the CRT fight.
- Dani Pedrosa
- Jorge Lorenzo
- Andrea Dovizioso