Danny Kent, who has his third chance to seal the Moto3 title at Sepang on Sunday, has been handed a three-place grid penalty.
The Englishman grew increasingly frustrated at riders trying to get a tow during the session and even rode through pit lane in an unsuccessful attempt to shake off his pursuers.
Kent originally qualified in sixth place but has been demoted to ninth for “riding slowly in 3 sectors in excess of the 110% limit of your fastest sectors...considered to be irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors”.
“First I've to admit that a second row wouldn't be too bad, though we have to deal with a penalty again,” Kent said. “However, in general it was a frustrating qualifying today. A lot of riders tried to follow me even when I entered the pit lane to try to come away from them all, but my strategy didn't work out.
“It's even more frustrating as Efren, my team-mate, seemed like he wouldn't get away from me as he was always around. So the only thing I can say is that I'm frustrated. But the most important thing is that we're ready for tomorrow's race thanks to a fast and consistent pace.”
It is the second time in as many races that Kent has received a grid penalty, after being stripped of pole position at Phillip Island.
Kent holds a 40 point lead over Miguel Oliveira and will be champion if he can maintain at least a 26-point lead (25 if Oliveira doesn't win) after Sunday's race.
Other riders to receive a three-place grid penalty for irresponsible riding were Efrén Vázquez, Isaac Viñales, Andrea Migno, Manuel Pagliani and Remy Gardner.