Spain's Jorge Lorenzo, riding a Yamaha, will be on pole for tomorrow morning's season-opening, Qatar MotoGP in Doha.
Lorenzo was 0.221sec faster than reigning world champion Casey Stoner of Australia, on a Honda, and 0.388sec ahead of fellow Yamaha rider, Cal Crutchlow of Britain.
Lorenzo, the 2010 world champion, recorded the 45th pole of his career and 18th in the elite MotoGP class.
His performance represented a stunning turnaround in his fortunes in Qatar after Stoner had dominated the first two practice sessions before Lorenzo clocked the fastest lap in the third session of practice yesterday.
Four-times a winner in Qatar in the 125cc and 250cc classes, Lorenzo will be on the front row in Doha for the ninth time.
Seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi, who last season went without a win for the first time in 15 years, was down in 12th spot on his struggling Ducati, over two seconds off the pace.