Just one day after KTM announced its withdraw from the 250cc class at the end of this season, Hiroshi Aoyama put an orange machine on provisional pole for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix with his very final Friday lap at Sepang.
Second in the championship Alvaro Bautista lapped 0.180sec slower than the Japanese to finish the opening day at Sepang in a provisional second position for Mapfre Aspar Aprilia, with Aoyama's team-mate Mika Kallio 0.045sec further back in third.
Marco Simoncelli - who holds a commanding 37 point lead over Bautista heading into the penultimate race of the season - rose to a late fourth position, the Metis Gilera rider's best being 0.466sec adrift of Bautista.
Thai Honda rider Ratthapark Wilairot was a promising fifth fastest at his nearest thing to a home grand prix, with Aleix Espargaro, Yuki Takahashi and Alex Debon joining him on the provisional second row.
First qualifying - Sepang:
1. Aoyama (KTM) 2min 6.893sec
2. Bautista (Aprilia) +0.180sec
3. Kallio (KTM) +0.225sec
4. Simoncelli (Gilera) +0.466sec
5. Wilairot (Honda) +0.517sec
6. Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.562sec
7. Takahashi (Honda) +0.965sec
8. Debon (Aprilia) +1.027sec
9. Faubel (Aprilia) +1.116sec
10. Pasini (Aprilia) +1.524sec