Jorge Lorenzo will start his quest for a third MotoGP title from pole position in Sunday's season-opening Qatar night race.
The Factory Yamaha star emerged triumphant during an exciting debut for the new qualifying format, which saw the top ten riders from free practice - plus the two quickest in Qualifying 1 - take part in a 15-minute pole shootout.
Lorenzo had not been fastest since the opening Thursday evening session, but thrived on the intensity of the new system.
Quickest after the opening run, Lorenzo was then pushed down the order by charging Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, before delivering pole by 0.2s on his penultimate lap.
“I'm very pleased with this pole because I got the maximum from myself to make this lap,” said Lorenzo. “I pushed more than the limit. It was difficult because Cal did an extremely fast lap. I had to put all my talent, all my speed into it and finally we did it. The important thing is that the Yamaha works here at this track.”
Of the qualifying format itself, Lorenzo added: “I think for the first time of the new qualifying format it has been very positive and for the fans it is very good to watch. For the riders you are a little more nervous and you have less time to make a fast lap.
“I knew I was competitive but the ten minutes before the qualifying we had some problems with the set up of the bike so it was more difficult to make the time. We had to change to yesterday's setting.
“The important thing is to make a good start tomorrow. The last simulations I made were better than yesterday so I'm quite confident for the start. If there are problems in the first laps we have to be patient and wait for the middle of the race.”
Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi
could only manage seventh place, his worst result of the weekend.