Valentino Rossi overcame team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo by 0.050sec to claim pole position for Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno - despite missing the final three minutes of the session after a fast accident.
Lorenzo, who starts round eleven 25 points behind Rossi, had been fastest in both practice sessions leading up to qualifying, when he once again spent large parts of the hour on top of the timesheets.
Rossi then put his #46 Fiat Yamaha narrowly ahead with nine minutes to go, setting a new lap record in the process. But when Rossi returned to defend his fifth pole of the year - and third in a row - he lost the front of his M1 on entry to the fast downhill right hander leading into the stadium section.
The 30-year-old Italian slid to a halt unharmed, but his Yamaha flipped several times in the gravel before coming to rest against the tyre wall.
That should have handed Lorenzo a perfect opportunity to snatch pole back, but the Spaniard was forced to thread his way through traffic on his final lap - including a close moment with Mika Kallio out of the final turn - and couldn't improve.
Completing Sunday's front row will be Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who improved from almost one-second behind Lorenzo on Friday to 0.383sec from pole in qualifying.
Toni Elias responded to this morning's news that he (like team-mate Alex de Angelis) will leave Gresini Honda at the end of the season, to make way for Marco Simoncelli and Marco Melandri, by claiming a strong fourth on the grid at a track where he finished second to Rossi last season.
Fifth place went to Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards, with Pedrosa's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso the final rider within one second of pole.
A 0.667sec gap separated Dovizioso from de Angelis, while Nicky Hayden responded to the pressure provided by new team-mate Mika Kallio by being the top Ducati rider in eighth place.