Marc Marquez took his sixth pole in six 2014 MotoGP events at Mugello, ahead of home star Andrea Iannone.
Championship leader Marquez, who has yet to be beaten in either qualifying or a grand prix so far this year, put in a 1m47.270s early in Q2.
It did not matter that he could not improve on it, as no one else could get close enough to put the Honda under threat.
Remarkably it was Pramac Ducati rider Iannone who was Marquez's main challenger, using the soft tyres available to non-Factory riders to good effect as he lapped within 0.180 seconds of Marquez.
Iannone had never qualified higher than eighth for a MotoGP race before this weekend.
Jorge Lorenzo showed better form to complete the front row for Yamaha, having set the initial pace before Marquez and Iannone's laps.
But it was an extremely disappointing session for Lorenzo's Mugello hero team-mate Valentino Rossi, who ended up 10th - albeit just 0.3s slower than the Spaniard after a fiercely close session - and cursing his choice of the softer front tyre.
Morning practice pacesetter Dani Pedrosa looked like he would be joining Rossi in the upper midfield until his last lap salvaged fourth place. The Spaniard achieved that on reduced power after hitting an engine mapping button by mistake during the mid-Q2 pit visit.
Rookie Pol Espargaro qualified fifth, despite a crash, while Cal Crutchlow produced his best qualifying run for Ducati yet in sixth, two places ahead of factory team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
Bradley Smith splits the works Desmosedicis, despite a crash in the final practice session just before qualifying.
Smith was one of three man to fall in practice four, along with Alvaro Bautista and Aleix Espargaro. Both were still able to make it out of Q1.
Follow MotoGP race day from Mugello as it happens on AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live, starting with Moto3 at 10am UK time on Sunday
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Marc Marquez Honda 1m47.270s
2. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m47.450s +0.180s
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m47.521s +0.251s
4. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m47.584s +0.314s
5. Pol Espargaro Tech 3 Yamaha 1m47.612s +0.342s
6. Cal Crutchlow Ducati 1m47.659s +0.389s
7. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m47.681s +0.411s
8. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m47.754s +0.484s
9. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m47.765s +0.495s
10. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m47.791s +0.521s
11. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m48.132s +0.862s
12. Aleix Espargaro Forward Yamaha 1m48.218s +0.948s
13. Yonny Hernandez Pramac Ducati 1m48.722s Q1
14. Scott Redding Gresini Honda 1m48.754s Q1
15. Michele Pirro Ducati 1m48.794s Q1
16. Karel Abraham Cardion Honda 1m48.894s Q1
17. Hiroshi Aoyama Aspar Honda 1m49.505s Q1
18. Colin Edwards Forward Yamaha 1m49.780s Q1
19. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m49.932s Q1
20. Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia 1m50.505s Q1
21. Mike di Meglio Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m50.515s Q1
22. Broc Parkes PBM Aprilia 1m50.875s Q1
23. Michel Fabrizio Ioda Aprilia 1m53.116s Q1