Marc Marquez dealt his Moto2 title charge a major boost with a commanding display in qualifying at Motegi, as current series leader Stefan Bradl could only qualify eighth.
Marquez was on top for almost the entire session, setting an early pace on the Catalunya Suter that left him 0.3s clear until times dropped in the final minutes.
His only serious competition came in the form of a late rally from Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Suter), who came within 0.07s of finally displacing Marquez at the top.
Marquez reacted to the charge and both riders were on faster laps as the chequered flag fell. While Luthi hit traffic in the third sector, Marquez was able to further extend his advantage, setting a 1m52.067s to seal his seventh pole in the last nine races.
Luthi ended up second, claiming his first front row start since the fourth round in France, while Andrea Iannone (Speed Master Suter) completed a front row sweep for Suter as he improved late on to take third.
That left Tech 3's Bradley Smith in fourth, from where he will share the second row with Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Moriwaki) and Simone Corsi (Ioda FTR).
Alex de Angelis (JIR Motobi) was another late improver, demoting Bradl (Kiefer Kalex) to eighth. Bradl's championship lead therefore looks precarious, the gap over Marquez having fallen from 82 points to just six over the past seven races.
Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP Suter) and Mattia Pasini (Ioda FTR) rounded out the top 10 in a session that featured several heavy crashes.
Randy Krummenacher on the Kiefer Kalex was the first victim, a huge high-side at the final corner bringing his qualifying to a very early close.
Pol Espargaro was then lucky to escape from serious injury as he crashed on the final corner right in front of Kenny Noyes. Noyes had no time to react and squeezed his bike between Espargaro and the stricken Speed Up FTR.
With 10 minutes to go, Max Neukirchner (MZ) and Sergio Gadea - who stepped up to Moto2 on the G22 Moriwaki at the last race at Aragon - both ended in the gravel.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Marc Marquez Catalunya Suter 1m52.067s 2. Thomas Luthi Interwetten Suter 1m52.260s + 0.193s 3. Andrea Iannone Speed Master Suter 1m52.423s + 0.356s 4. Bradley Smith Tech 3 1m52.645s + 0.578s 5. Yuki Takahashi Gresini Moriwaki 1m52.694s + 0.627s 6. Simone Corsi Ioda FTR 1m52.696s + 0.629s 7. Alex de Angelis JIR Motobi 1m52.763s + 0.696s 8. Stefan Bradl Kiefer Kalex 1m52.789s + 0.722s 9. Dominique Aegerter Technomag-CIP Suter 1m52.799s + 0.732s 10. Mattia Pasini Ioda FTR 1m52.853s + 0.786s 11. Jordi Torres Aspar Suter 1m52.949s + 0.882s 12. Mika Kallio Marc VDS Suter 1m53.082s + 1.015s 13. Aleix Espargaro Pons Kalex 1m53.135s + 1.068s 14. Michele Pirro Gresini Moriwaki 1m53.172s + 1.105s 15. Scott Redding Marc VDS Suter 1m53.201s + 1.134s 16. Xavier Simeon Tech 3 1m53.210s + 1.143s 17. Esteve Rabat Blusens FTR 1m53.274s + 1.207s 18. Takaaki Nakagami Italtrans Suter 1m53.291s + 1.224s 19. Kenan Sofuoglu Technomag-CIP Suter 1m53.376s + 1.309s 20. Raffaele de Rosa Forward Suter 1m53.430s + 1.363s 21. Pol Espargaro Speed Up FTR 1m53.532s + 1.465s 22. Ricard Cardus QMMF Moriwaki 1m53.638s + 1.571s 23. Anthony West MZ 1m53.715s + 1.648s 24. Axel Pons Pons Kalex 1m53.755s + 1.688s 25. Mike di Meglio Tech 3 1m53.779s + 1.712s 26. Ratthapark Wilairot SAG FTR 1m53.818s + 1.751s 27. Jules Cluzel Forward Suter 1m53.820s + 1.753s 28. Santiago Hernandez SAG FTR 1m53.966s + 1.899s 29. Max Neukirchner MZ 1m53.969s + 1.902s 30. Kenny Noyes Avintia FTR 1m54.161s + 2.094s 31. Valentin Debise Speed Up FTR 1m54.341s + 2.274s 32. Yonny Hernandez Blusens FTR 1m54.375s + 2.308s 33. Tomoyoshi Koyama Technomag-CIP Suter 1m54.441s + 2.374s 34. Joan Olive Castello FTR 1m54.740s + 2.673s 35. Mashel Al Naimi QMMF Moriwaki 1m54.744s + 2.677s 36. Robertino Pietri Italtrans Suter 1m54.911s + 2.844s 37. Sergio Gadea G22 Moriwaki 1m54.911s + 3.491s 38. Randy Krummenacher Kiefer Kalex NC