By Neil Morrison

Jorge Lorenzo continued his bid to retain the MotoGP World Championship by taking his fourth pole of 2013 in treacherous conditions at Motegi.

Prior to Saturday afternoon the 26-year old hadn't ridden his Yamaha M1 in wet conditions since the end of June at Assen, where a qualifying fall broke his left collarbone.

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The Spaniard therefore gradually built his confidence up throughout the 75-minute session, rising from the lower reaches of the top 15 to end the session 0.65secs ahead of second placed Marquez and over one-second clear of the rest.

Such was his pace that Lorenzo's pole time was only 7.5secs slower than his fastest race lap from 2012, set in dry conditions.

With Lorenzo reducing the gap to Marquez at the top of the Championship from 43 to 18 points at the previous round in Australia, he now needs to at least keep Marquez's advantage under 25 points to take the title fight to the final round in Valencia.

"I'm very happy to get the second pole position in a row after Phillip Island. It has been hard because the last time I rode in the wet was in Assen so I didn't have good memories! In the beginning I was very careful and scared," he said.

"In the end I really felt very good in the wet - braking, acceleration, everywhere. I pushed 100 percent and set this very good lap.

"It doesn't matter if it's wet or dry tomorrow, it's not my problem to think about it, I have to ride in whatever conditions we have. A wet race would be better for the championship though!

"This [championship situation] is like a gift we have, because before the race in Australia the championship was almost finished for us. Now we have this new chance. We felt great in the wet today. Let's see how we feel if it's dry tomorrow. I feel confident to push to the limit and try to win this race. We will see."

Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg added: "Tomorrow there is just one option for us, which is to beat Marc. The team is ready if tomorrow's practice are dry; we have found a good base set up during the last two races so we are greatly motivated and ready for all circumstances."

Qualifying was the first and only MotoGP track session so far this weekend, after visibility problems grounded the medical helicopters. A 50-minute free practice will take place on Sunday morning, prior to the race in the afternoon.