Dani Pedrosa took his second pole position of the season by just 0.029sec during qualifying for the penultimate round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship at Sepang in Malaysia.
The triple 2011 race winner, fastest in all three free practice sessions, suffered a lowside fall early in the qualifying hour before taking to the top and just holding off team-mate and newly crowned double world champion Casey Stoner.
Andrea Dovizioso completed a perfect Repsol performance in third place, 0.204sec behind Pedrosa, whom he is battling for third in the championship standings.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards produced an excellent effort to claim fourth place, 0.548sec from pole, in his penultimate qualifying appearance on an M1.
That bumped Gresini Honda's Marco Simoncelli to fifth, with Nicky Hayden backing up a competitive Saturday morning session with sixth for Ducati (+0.710sec).
Row three will be led by Simoncelli's team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama, followed by Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista and Hayden's team-mate Valentino Rossi.
Rossi, winless since his final victory for Yamaha at Sepang last season, crashed in the closing stages but returned to set a time 0.933sec from pole - a big improvement on the 2.427sec gap to Pedrosa on Friday.
Cal Crutchlow will start his first Malaysian Grand Prix from tenth place for Tech 3, followed by the Pramac Ducatis of Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi, the Cardion Ducati of Karel Abraham and Aspar Ducati of Hector Barbera.
LCR Honda's Toni Elias managed only 15th place, while Ben Spies, struggling with rib injuries from last weekend at Phillip Island, fell this morning and again this afternoon – leaving him 16th on the grid. The Texan must surely be doubtful for Sunday's race.
Spies' temporary team-mate Katsuyuki Nakasuga, called up by Yamaha to replace injured 2010 world champion Jorge Lorenzo, was 17th and last but improved his pace to be 2.610sec from pole.
John Hopkins, due to take part in his third event of the season for Rizla Suzuki, has withdrawn after complications with his healing right hand.
11. de Puniet