Britain's Cal Crutchlow narrowly missed out on the first pole position of his burgeoning MotoGP career as he produced a sensational performance on the Tech 3 Yamaha M1 in Qatar.
Crutchlow, who topped the times in the fourth free practice session earlier in the evening, hit the front by 0.248s from Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa before reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo swooped to snatch pole.
Spaniard Lorenzo's time of 1m 54.714s gave him an advantage of 0.202s over Crutchlow (1m 54.916s), who is seeking to claim a third MotoGP rostrum at Losail after managing the feat twice during a memorable campaign last season.
The former World Supersport champion said: “It is a very positive way to be starting the first race from the front row of the grid and thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because I had a great bike underneath me tonight.
“I was confident going into QP2 of being able to challenge for the front row because I was fastest in FP4 and the bike felt like it was working really well.
“I must admit the 15-minute format is really exciting and I think it is great for the championship and for the fans,” added the 27-year-old.
“I'd have liked it to have been only 10 minutes long because that would have put me on pole position!
“But credit to Jorge because he pulled a brilliant time out of the bag, though I am really satisfied because starting from the front row is always important.”
Crutchlow anticipates a 'difficult' race under the floodlights in Qatar and believes six riders are in with a chance of fighting for the podium.
“It is going to be a very difficult race but I am ready for it,” he said.
“I think there are six of us that can be fighting for the podium and I will certainly be giving it my all to make sure I am one of them.”