Luca Marini snatched pole away from Fabio Di Gianantonio for the Qatar Grand Prix by just 0.067s, while title rivals Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin will start alongside each other.
Marini looked rapid from the outset of the session, the Italian ending the opening runs of qualifying second behind Gresini’s Di Gianantonio, who posted an all-new lap record of the Lusail International Circuit of 1:52.188s.
He then went even further on his final attempt as he strung together a blistering 1:51.829s, an effort that left him half-a-second clear of anyone else at that point.
Marini managed to find even more time on his closing gambit though, the VR46 Ducati man banging in a 1:51.762s when it mattered to secure his second career pole position, and second in the last five encounters.
Di Gianantonio was thus forced to settle for second ahead of team-mate Alex Marquez, who managed to find a late improvement having progressed from Q1 to complete the front row.
Bagnaia meanwhile got the better of championship rival Martin to claim fourth for both races, though the Pramac Ducati pilot will start right behind him in fifth with team-mate Johann Zarco right behind – the Frenchman completing an all-Ducati top six.
Marc Marquez shadowed Bagnaia on both his attempts to end the pole shootout as best of the rest for Honda, the six-time premier class world champion ending Q2 just ahead of a trio of Aprilia’s.
Maverick Vinales looked on for a potential pole-capturing lap right at the death of the session, though his final product left him only eighth ahead of Friday leader Raul Fernandez for RNF and the other factory Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro.
Brad Binder could manage only 11th for KTM, with fellow RC16 rider Augusto Fernandez rounding off the 12 Q2 runners for GasGas.
Marco Bezzecchi narrowly missed out on a place in the pole shootout to Marquez and thus will start from 13th.
Fabio Quartararo was disappointed to secure only 14th on the grid having shown to have one of the best race rhythms, the Frenchman topping the third practice test of the event just moments before qualifying.
Enea Bastianini also missed out, partially due to getting held up by LCR Honda’s Iker Lecuona on a lap likely good enough to get him into the top two of Q1. His final effort was only enough to get him up to 15th ahead of KTM’s Jack Miller.
Franco Morbidelli was unable to match the pace of team-mate Quartararo en route to 18th ahead of the second GasGas entry of Pol Espargaro, with Joan Mir the next best Honda down in 20th.
LCR duo Lecuona and Takaaki Nakagami rounded off the field, the latter having crashed in the early part of Q1 while trying to follow Quaratraro.