Valentino Rossi lit up Assen as the Movistar Yamaha rider claimed his first pole position since Valencia in 2014 ahead of Saturday's Dutch TT.
It was only the nine-time world champion's second pole in five years as Rossi dramatically turned around his qualifying fortunes at 'The Cathedral' to take the plum spot on the front row.
The 36-year-old turned the tables on team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who finds himself on row three after qualifying eighth on the second of the factory Yamaha machines.
The pair are separated by only one point in the championship standings after Lorenzo's red-hot run of four straight victories heading into the Dutch TT.
However, Rossi has led the way at Assen as he attempts to halt Lorenzo's charge, topping FP1 and FP3 before coming out on top in Q2 with a stunning lap in 1m 32.627s, which put him two tenths clear of Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro in second place on the GSX-RR.
Espargaro had held pole in the closing stages until Rossi powered to the top of the times from fifth place, shattering Marc Marquez's pole record from 2014 of 1m 33.46s.
Repsol Honda's Marquez had been the early pacesetter on the RC213V from Britain's Cal Crutchlow on the CWM LCR Honda, but Rossi's sizzling record lap proved a cut above.
World champion Marquez eventually secured a front row spot with a best time of 1m 32.886s, which left him 0.259s behind Rossi.
Row two is led by Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda from Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Pol Espargaro, with Andrea Iannone the leading Ducati rider as the top six were covered by 0.389 seconds.
Crutchlow heads up the third row from a frustrated Lorenzo, whose time of 1m 33.042s left him 0.415s down on his team-mate. The pair are joined on row three by Maverick Vinales on the second factory Suzuki.
Andrea Dovizioso claimed an unfamiliar row four start in 10th place on the GP15 followed by Danilo Petrucci on the Octo Pramac Ducati, with Bradley Smith 12th on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and 0.609s behind the leading Yamaha of Rossi.
Stefan Bradl was the top Open class rider in 13th place on the Forward Yamaha ahead of Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac Ducati) and Loris Baz on the second Forward Yamaha.
Scott Redding finished well down the order on the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda in 16th position ahead of Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing Ducati).
Ireland's Eugene Laverty leads row seven on the Aspar Honda, where he is joined by Jack Miller (CWM LCR Honda) and Aprilia's Alvaro Bautista.
Nicky Hayden finished qualifying in 22nd place on the final row of the grid.
1. Valentino Rossi
2. Aleix Espargaro
3. Marc Marquez
4. Dani Pedrosa
5. Pol Espargaro
6. Andrea Iannone
7. Cal Crutchlow
8. Jorge Lorenzo
9. Maverick Viñales
10. Andrea Dovizioso
11. Danilo Petrucci
12. Bradley Smith