Martin Jessopp bagged pole for Saturday's 49th Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix with a scorching lap on the Riders Motorcycles BMW in Q2.
Jessopp, who finished on the rostrum last year in third place behind Stuart Easton and Michael Rutter, dipped into the 2m 24s bracket as he went close to Easton's 2010 lap record.
The British Superbike regular was 1.1 seconds faster than Rutter on the Penz13.com BMW in second place, while Peter Hickman hauled himself into third on the Briggs BMW.
It was a stunning effort by Hickman, who only made his circuit bow at the Guia street venue in 2014 and is now in the frame to challenge for a sensational podium finish on Saturday.
The big Louth rider, who will compete on factory-supported Kawasaki machinery next season in the MCE British Superbike Championship and international road races, clocked a time of 2m 26.269s as he finished 1.8 seconds behind frontrunner Jessopp.
Morecambe's John McGuinness, who had led the way in Q1 on the Honda Racing Fireblade, managed to better his time in the final session for fifth place on the grid, followed by Gary Johnson on another of the Penz13.com BMWs.
Johnson lapped in 2m 26.879s – 2.4 seconds off Jessopp's pole time – to qualify sixth ahead of Manxman Conor Cummins (Honda Racing) by only a tenth of a second.
The session had to be restarted following a red-flag incident involving British competitor Tom McHale, who had a massive off at Mandarin on the CF Racing Honda, suffering a series of injuries including a punctured lung, a liver laceration, fractures to four vertebrae, broken ribs, plus fractures to his forearm, collarbone and shoulder.
McHale is conscious, talking and described as being stable despite his long list of injuries.
Austrian Horst Saiger was eighth on his Kawasaki while Hawick man Easton (SMT Yamaha R1) and Northern Ireland's Lee Johnston on the East Coast Racing BMW rounded out the top ten.
Jimmy Storrar, riding a Kawasaki for PBM, and Dan Cooper (Space Centre Racing Honda) were 11th and 12th respectively, followed by Aussie David Johnson on the Ice Valley BMW and Macau regular Mark Miller from the USA (Splitlath EBR).
Newcomer Ivan Lintin was 25th on the RC Express Kawasaki ahead of Ulsterman Davy Morgan on the Magic Bullet Honda.