Spain's double world champion Jorge Lorenzo put Yamaha on pole position for MotoGP's floodlit season-opener in Qatar with a late burst of speed on Saturday.
The Mallorcan went top with two minutes remaining of the new-look qualifying format, with the 12 top riders in a 15 minute shoot-out for the top slot, with a fastest lap of the Losail circuit in one minute 54.714 seconds.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow was denied his first pole by 0.202 of a second and had to settle for second fastest on the non-works Tech3 Yamaha with Spaniard Dani Pedrosa completing the front row for Honda with a last-gasp flying lap.
Italian Andrea Dovizioso, making his Ducati debut, was fourth with Germany's Stefan Bradl fifth on an LCR Honda and Spanish hotshot Marc Marquez completing the second row on a works Honda.
Italian great Valentino Rossi, back on a Yamaha as Lorenzo's team mate after two years with Ducati, starts Sunday's night-time race from seventh place on the grid.