Cal Crutchlow will start Sunday's Australian MotoGP from second on the grid, his best qualifying of the season outside of pole at Silverstone.
The Honda LCR arrived in Qualifying 2 on hot form after seeing off the likes of Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales to lead Qualifying 1, held on a drying Phillip Island track.
Conditions continued to improve in the pole shootout, which saw Crutchlow twice top the timesheets. But his intermediate front was no match for the slick of Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda star went on to claim pole with a 0.8s advantage.
Nevertheless, Crutchlow was able to hold off another all-slick rider, Pol Espargaro, who will complete Sunday's front row.
"I'm a little bit disappointed with the result, I thought we could maybe have stolen the pole today if I was clever enough," said the Englishman.
"Normally I am the guy to put the slicks first and I should have gone with my gut instinct, because after Qualifying 1 I said immediately 'let's go with the slicks'. And then I changed my mind and it was the wrong decision.
"So I lost a bit of time, but felt I did a good job with the tyre that I had and we finished second. At the end of the day Marc did a great lap.
"It's been tricky conditions all weekend, then me going through to Qualifying 1 was a bit of a nightmare situation. I chose the wrong tyres at the wrong time in FP3. But I think my team did a good job this weekend and we have to look forward to tomorrow. It'll be a complete lottery again
"Honestly I was quite surprised with the lap times that we were able to do with the wet tyre and also in the dry, considering the track is dirty and there is no rubber on the track - just a load of crashed fairing bits and mud!
"It's going to be a long race tomorrow, because I think the lap times we did in qualifying it's possible to do at the end of the race. If we can get the 30-minutes tomorrow morning at a decent temperature and work out our settings it'd be a lot better for everyone, a lot safer and hopefully bring a good close race for the fans."
Crutchlow, winner at Brno, is ten points in front of Pol Espargaro in their battle for seventh and top satellite rider in the world championship.
By Peter McLaren