Casey Stoner has an excellent chance of claiming Honda's first home Japanese MotoGP win since 2004, after taking his tenth pole position of the season at Motegi.
The world championship leader continued Honda's domination of the Japanese weekend - which has seen an RCV lead every session - after overcoming a surprise attack from title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Off pace in free practice, Lorenzo snatched pole with five minutes to go, before being pushed down to second by Stoner - whose record-breaking meant he finished the session 0.256sec in front of the Spaniard.
"Everything has gone very well so far this weekend, we've been fastest in all but one session so it's been fantastic," said Stoner, winner of last year's race for Ducati.
"We tried a few different settings this afternoon and didn't really improve so we'll probably go back to this morning's setting for tomorrow. We'll have to watch the weather as this will affect the set-up, there's also a chance of rain so it could get complicated."
Stoner's Repsol Honda team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa will start third and fourth.
"Jorge has been riding fantastic, as has Dovi and Dani, but there is no doubt that the Honda suits this track, I've been looking forward to riding it here for a while now and I'm not disappointed!" said Stoner of the stop-go Motegi layout. "Tomorrow will be a tough race, but the team is working hard and we'll do our best."
Dovizioso was delighted with his front row start, although the Italian was over half-a-second from Stoner.
"I'm very happy to be on the front row here in Motegi!" said Dovi, yet to sign for 2012. "This afternoon we improved again from this morning and I feel very confident, especially under braking. We still haven't decided on the tyre for tomorrow as we are good on both compounds but I feel positive for the race and for the fight for the podium tomorrow. I'm really happy with the work of the team and the Honda is working really well at this track, I think tomorrow we will have a great race!"
Pedrosa held pole for much of the session, but lost out in the closing stages and was eventually left 0.699sec from the top.
"The qualifying practice started quite well for us, we were doing lap times with a consistent pace preparing for the race and everything seemed to be going well," he confirmed. "But at the end, when I switched to soft tyres, I couldn't get them working, I had much less grip.
"I thought it could be a problem with the first tyre and so I came back to the garage to change it but again I had the same issue. I am disappointed not to be on the front row, but the good feeling with the race tyres is good news.
"We will need to see how the weather is tomorrow, if the temperature drops a lot maybe some riders will use the soft, but considering my feeling, I will probably choose the hard one. The race will be very tough with Stoner, Dovizioso and maybe Lorenzo, but we want to fight until the end."
Stoner will be chasing his ninth win of the season on Sunday, while Repsol Honda will be hoping to fill all three places on the podium for the first time this year.