The remarkable Marc Marquez has clinched his ninth pole position of the season with a cracking lap in qualifying for the MotoGP Championship decider in Spain.
Honda's brightest star unleashed a crushing 1:30.237s lap to leap to the top in the 15-minute Q2 session to dash hopes of his chief rival Jorge Lorenzo claiming the No 1 starting spot.
Lorenzo was forced onto his spare bike after complaining of problems with his rear brake on the primary Yamaha but was unable to respond to the blistering Marquez lap and will start second with Dani Pedrosa third.
Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow were fourth and fifth, shuffling Bradley Smith, who had lobbed as third fastest late in the session, back to sixth.
Lorenzo meant business early being the first rider to set a time with an early marker of 1:30.645s before he retreated to the pits.
Marquez responded soon after but fell just short of the mark before banging in the record tour with two minutes left.
With six minutes remaining most of the runners including Marquez returned to the pits however Lorenzo was given the go ahead to have another run on a clear track after changes to the rear of his Yamaha.
But the Spaniard returned immediately to his pit bay as the problem was not sorted. He then legged aboard the spare bike with just under four minutes remaining but he could not unseat the Marquez flyer after managing a 1:30.577.
Alvaro Bautista dropped his Gresini Honda at turn 11 in the dying seconds and was uninjured and will start from seventh.
The showdown is set for Marquez to claim a remarkable MotoGP championship as he goes into the race clutching a 13-point lead over Lorenzo.
The rookie needs to finish fourth or better to secure the title while Lorenzo needs to win and see Marquez finish fifth or worse to snatch victory.
See below for qualifying results
|Tech 3 Yamaha
|Tech 3 Yamaha
|Randy de Puniet