Jorge Lorenzo will start from pole in Sunday's Japan Grand Prix, having held off his Yamaha teammate and championship leader Valentino Rossi, who will start second.
The Spaniard led all four practice sessions before clocking in 1min 43.790sec in the qualifying round Saturday, only 0.081sec faster than the veteran Italian rider.
Injured defending champion Marc Marquez will share the front row with the Yamaha duo, coming in 0.426sec after Lorenzo.
Rossi, who leads Lorenzo only by a slender 14-point advantage, has admitted that the season remained wide open with four more races in the play, including the Japanese race.
Thick cloud cover brought the temperature down at Motegi, where rainfall is expected for Sunday's Grand Prix.
Alex de Angelis crashed hard during the fourth free practice earlier Saturday, prompting a red flag to temporarily suspend the session.