A series of quick lap times helped Cal Crutchlow resist the competition long enough to score pole position in only his second World Supersport event at Losail, Qatar.
The British rider, who went into the deciding session with provisional pole position and the quickest lap of the weekend under his belt, fought off an early offensive by Andrew Pitt to lower his best time repeatedly over the 45-minutes.
At one stage almost seven tenths quicker than anyone else, Crutchlow was eventually pegged back to one tenth by an inspired late effort from Eugene Laverty on the Parkalgar Honda.
The Irishman proved to be a constant threat throughout the session, but looked to have settled for a spot on the outside of the front row before leapfrogging the factory Ten Kate pair of Pitt and Kenan Sofuoglu for an excellent second on the grid.
He was a comfortable two tenths up on Sofuoglu too, although the Turk suffered a second fall of the weekend at the end of the session as he attempted to better his rivals' times. Nonetheless, he will start third, with team-mate Pitt joining him on the front row four tenths behind.
Having matched Crutchlow in provisional qualifying, Fabien Foret couldn't quite maintain the same pace when it mattered in fifth, the Frenchman just ahead of countryman Matthieu Lagrive.
A strong session for the BE1 Triumph team, both Gianluca Nannelli and Garry McCoy qualified inside the top ten, the Italian particularly impressing by leaping up from a provisional 11th to go seventh, while his team-mate was ninth.
The pair are split by Robbin Harms, who proved his pace in free practice could be repeated by going eighth, even if the Dane ran as high as fourth earlier in the session. Mark Aitchison rounded out the top ten on the second Althea Honda.
Elsewhere, Phillip Island podium winner Anthony West will need to repeat his ride through the field in Australia after qualifying in 12th position for the second race in a row. Still, he fared better than Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz, who suffered the biggest drop of all the riders to go from sixth to 15th, behind team-mate Katsuaki Fujiwara in 13th.