Jorge Lorenzo achieved his first premier class pole at Le Mans in emphatic style as the Movistar Yamaha rider set a new record to claim the top spot ahead of Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone on the Ducati.
Lorenzo quickly put down a marker as he clocked the fastest time of the weekend at the French circuit on his first flying lap but better was to come from the reigning world champion, who became the first rider ever to dip into the 1m 31s bracket at Le Mans.
The Mallorcan clocked a blistering time of 1m 31.975s to take pole for the very first time in MotoGP at the legendary venue, four tenths ahead of Marquez.
Iannone, who had led the way in FP3 on the factory Desmosedici, managed to put the Ducati on the front row even though the Italian came off on his out lap as he prepared for his final time attack.
He managed to return to the pits and ventured back out on his number two bike and although he failed to better his time from his first run, Iannone's lap of 1m 32.469s prior to his spill was good enough for third, only 0.053s behind Marquez.
Pol Espargaro managed to build on his pace from FP3 as the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider slotted into fourth to lead the satellite charge, lapping in 1m 32.502s.
Andrea Dovizioso was next on the second factory Ducati, while Bradley Smith climbed to sixth to complete row two as the British rider secured his best qualifying result of the year on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine.
Jerez winner Valentino Rossi continued to struggle to match the pace of the leading riders on the Movistar Yamaha and heads up row three, with the Doctor's lap of 1m 32.829s a huge eight tenths slower than Lorenzo's blistering benchmark.
He is joined on the third row by Suzuki's Maverick Vinales and Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda, while the top ten is rounded out by the returning Danilo Petrucci on the Pramac Ducati, who came off in Q2 but escaped unscathed.
Honda's Dani Pedrosa finds himself down in 11th position after an early tumble at turn four on the Repsol RC213V.
Pedrosa, making the headlines at Le Mans as he continues to be linked with a move to Yamaha in 2017, switched to his second machine but could only manage a best lap of 1m 33.109s as he completed Q2 1.1 seconds off the pace of Lorenzo.
Aleix Espargaro will start from 12th place on the second factory Suzuki GSX-RR ahead of Avintia Ducati's Hector Barbera and Scott Redding (Pramac Ducati).
Aspar Ducati riders Yonny Hernandez and Eugene Laverty were 14th and 15th respectively in front of Aprilia's Stefan Bradl and Jack Miller on the Marc VDS Honda.
Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia), rookie Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Honda) and Frenchman Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati) complete the last row of the grid.