Casey Stoner, who took his 30th MotoGP victory last Sunday at Indianapolis, claimed his 30th premier-class pole during qualifying for this weekend's Misano round.
The MotoGP title leader, 44 points ahead of Jorge Lorenzo with six rounds to go, broke half-a-second clear with 15-minutes of the hour remaining - but was then reeled in by Lorenzo, who was just 0.120sec slower by the chequered flag.
Repsol Honda rider Stoner didn't improve on his record-breaking 18th lap of 26, while Yamaha's reigning world champion Lorenzo set his best time on the 29th of 30 laps.
Stoner's team-mate and 2010 Misano winner Dani Pedrosa was just 0.180sec from pole to complete the front row, with a distant 0.6sec gap then separating Pedrosa from Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies in fourth.
Gresini's Marco Simoncelli won the all-Italian battle with Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso - the pair qualifying fifth and sixth - with Colin Edwards seventh for Monster Yamaha Tech 3.
Edwards was the final rider within a second of Stoner, and will be joined on the third row by Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista eighth and Aspar's Hector Barbera.
As in practice, Barbera was the best Ducati rider - 1.454sec from Stoner - with Gresini's Hiroshi Aoyama completing the top ten.
Valentino Rossi, outside of the top ten throughout practice, will start his home race from a lowly eleventh for the factory Ducati team, the seven-time champion lagging 1.538sec from Stoner.
Cardion AB Ducati's Karel Abraham was just a fraction slower, with fellow rookie Cal Crutchlow suffering two late falls on his way to 13th for Tech 3.
Pramac's Randy de Puniet crashed early in the session, and will start 14th, ahead of Rossi's team-mate Nicky Hayden and the soon to retire Loris Capirossi.
Honda LCR's Toni Elias continues to prop up the timesheets in 17th.
14. de Puniet