Johann Zarco controlled Moto2 qualifying at Sepang with an amazing set of fast laps to hand him a clear pole position, over two seconds clear as he managed his wet tyres on the damp track for a best of 2m 18.621.
The Ajo Motorsport riders closest rival on track was pace setter Franco Morbidelli, the Estrella Galicia rider continuing his strong form to rival Zarco at the top of the timesheets until the Frenchman pulled clear with an impressive display.
Title rivals Tom Luthi and Alex Rins faltered – the Garage Plus Interwetten riders late push elevated him to just fifth, while injured Paginas Amarillas HP 40 man Rins was a distant 23rd.
By contrast the final front row place went to risk taker Axel Pons. The AGR Team racer rode with slick Dunlop tyres in his Kalex for his last run as the track dried, a move that paid off, catapulting the Spaniard to third.
Jonas Folger was frustrated by his best lap, which left him vulnerable, but held on for fourth for the Dynavolt Intact GP rider.
The German is joined on row two by Luthi and early leader, Forward rider Lorenzo Baldassarri in sixth.
Seventh went to Xavier Simeon on the sole remaining QMMF entry, with Mattia Pasini holding on to eighth for Italtrans.
Remy Gardner put in a best ever qualifying performance to secure ninth for Tasca Racing, with Simone Corsi completing the top ten for Speed Up.
Petronas were rewarded by wild-card Ramdan Rosli, the best placed home rider in twelfth despite a crash , beating their regular charge Hafizh Syahrin who will start from 14th.
Sam Lowes was the best placed British rider in 13th, while Danny Kent was 24th. Alessandro Nocco again replaces the injured Miguel Oliveira at Leopard and out-qualified Kent in 16th.
The first crash on track saw Xavi Vierge clipped by Luca Marini, Simone Corsi was also a late faller.
Julian Simon was declared unfit to ride earlier in the weekend after fracturing two vertebrae in his back.