An unusually slow session saw Mika Kallio's Friday pole unchallenged until the very final minute, when reigning champion and dominant 2007 title leader Jorge Lorenzo toppled the Finn by 0.288secs.

That triggered a flurry of activity, with Repsol Honda rider Aoyama snatching pole by just 0.018secs with ten seconds to go. The final lap then saw championship contender Andrea Dovizioso momentarily pull pole from his fellow Honda rider, before Shuhei - younger brother of KTM star Hiroshi - struck back by 0.139secs.

Lorenzo was thus left third while fellow Spaniard, and Aprilia rider, Hector Barbera will complete the front row. Kallio dropped to fifth after failing to improve on his Friday time.

Reigning 125cc world champion Alvaro Bautista fell in the opening minutes and will start just eleventh, while former 125cc world champion Thomas Luthi also suffered a scare on his way to tenth.

Final qualifying - Motegi:

1. S. Aoyama (Honda)
2. Dovizioso (Honda) +0.139secs
3. Lorenzo (Aprilia) +0.438secs
4. Barbera (Aprilia) +0.501secs
5. Kallio (KTM) +0.726secs
6. H. Aoyama (KTM) +0.842secs
7. Simon (Honda) +0.934secs
8. Takahashi (Honda) +1.001secs
9. de Angelis (Aprilia) +1.002secs
10. Luthi (Aprilia) +1.114secs

21. Laverty (Honda) +4.025secs
27. Linfoot (Aprilia) +5.378secs