Yamaha Factory Racing will start the Suzuka 8 Hours from pole position after a stunning Superpole lap from MotoGP's Pol Espargaro.

Despite being unfamiliar with the single lap Superpole format, the Spaniard - the 13th of 20 riders to take his turn on track - blasted to a record time of 2m 6.000s.

That was over one-second faster than his Friday qualifying best and proved too much for the others to match, although team-mate Katsuyuki Nakasuga got to within just 0.059s of Espargaro's effort.

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But since only the best lap time from each team determines grid position, the #21 machine took pole by 0.287s over Kawasaki's Kazuki Watanabe, who had been fastest heading into Superpole.

"It was amazing. I'm still shaking! It was a team effort. Everyone has been an amazing but the big thing is tomorrow," said Espargaro.

Retired double MotoGP champion Casey Stoner set the fourth best lap time for the Musashi Harc Pro Honda team (+0.335s), putting them third on the grid.

Two riders from each of the Top 10 teams after Friday qualifying took part in Superpole, which followed the old WSBK format, with each rider going out alone for a single flying lap.

Yamaha Factory Racing fielded Japanese champion Nakasuga and Espargaro, with fellow Tech 3 MotoGP rider Bradley Smith watching his team-mates from the pits.

Musashi Harc RT Pro Honda relied on Stoner and HRC test rider Takumi Takahashi, meaning Michael van der Mark did not participate.

Other familiar names that did take part in Superpole included Moto2's Dominique Aegerter and Ratthapark Wilairot, WSBK's Alex Lowes, BSB's Ryuichi Kiyonari, plus Japanese veterans Yukio Kagayama and Nobuatsu Aoki.

Honda has been beaten just twice in the last 18 years at Suzuka, regarded as Japans most prestigious motorcycle race, while Yamaha's last win was with Colin Edwards and Noriyuki Haga in 1996.

Espargaro, Smith and Stoner will be making their '8 Hours debut in Sunday's race, which starts at 11:30am.

Suzuka 8 Hours: Top 10 grid positions
1. Espargaro*/Nakasuga/B. Smith Yamaha Factory #21 2m 6.000s
2. Watanabe*/Yanagawa/Yudhistira Team Green #87 2m 6.287s
3. Stoner*/Takahashi/VD Mark Musashi Honda #634 2m 6.335s
4. Tsuda*/Lowes/Waters Yoshimura Suzuki #12 2m 6.516s
5. Kagayama*/Kiyonari/Haga Team Kagayama #17 2m 7.990s
6. Aegerter*/K. Smith/Hook FCC TSR Honda #778 2m 8.076s
7. Yamaguchi*/Wilairot/Elias Toho with Moriwaki #104 2m 8.382s
8. Nigon*/Deguchi/Izutsu Trickstar Kawasaki #01 2m 8.950s
9. Uramoto*/O'Halloran/Herfoss Sakuri Honda #71 2m 9.409s
10. Ogata*/Aoki/Konno Motomap Suzuki #32 2m 11.019s *Set the team's fastest lap in Superpole.

Superpole lap time by each rider
1. Espargaro Yamaha Factory #21 2m 6.000s
2. Nakasuga Yamaha Factory #21 2m 6.059s
3. Watanabe Team Green #87 2m 6.287s
4. Stoner Musashi Honda #634 2m 6.335s
5. Tsuda Yoshimura Suzuki #12 2m 6.516s
6. Lowes Yoshimura Suzuki #12 2m 7.144s
7. Takashashi Musashi Honda #634 2m 7.697s
8. Kagayama Team Kagayama #17 2m 7.990s
9. Aegerter FCC TSR Honda #778 2m 8.076s
10. Yamaguchi Toho with Moriwaki #104 2m 8.382s
11. Hook FCC TSR Honda #778 2m 8.472s
12. Kiyonari Team Kagayama #17 2m 8.806s
13. Nigon Trickstar Kawasaki #01 2m 8.950s
14. Yanagawa Team Green #87 2m 9.006s
15. Uramoto Sakuri Honda #71 2m 9.409s
16. Wilairot Toho with Moriwaki #104 2m 9.877s
17. O'Halloran Sakuri Honda #71 2m 10.391s
18. Deguchi Trickstar Kawasaki #01 2m 10.771s
19. Ogata Motomap Suzuki #32 2m 11.019s
20. Aoki Motomap Suzuki #32 2m 11.681s