Alex de Angelis claimed his first Moto2 pole of the year in an all-action climax to qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.
Britain's Scott Redding held the top spot once the field had completed its first flying lap, but when rain hit the circuit just four minutes into the session, it looked as though he would give the Marc VDS Suter team its first pole of 2011.
This seemed even more likely as a number of riders took to the track, which, although only slightly damp, looked to be devoid of the kind of grip needed to allow a shot at pole.
However, with just two minutes remaining, most of the field decided conditions were now good enough to attempt a flying lap, and so it proved.
Mattia Pasini grabbed provisional pole in 1m35.092s on his Ioda FTR just as the chequered flag was being waved, knocking Redding off the top spot by just 0.03s. Within seconds, though, the Italian was demoted by first Stefan Bradl (Kiefer Kalex) and then Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag Suter).
Finally, it was the turn of JiR Motobi rider de Angelis, whose 1m34.574s lap was enough to give the San Marinese rider his first pole since the corresponding race last year.
Mike di Meglio and Yuki Takahashi completed the front row with even later runs for the Tech 3 and Gresini Moriwaki squads. Redding, who improved his previous time, Sofuoglu and Pol Espargaro (Speed Up FTR) made up row two with Bradley Smith seventh for Tech 3.
Bradl, who lies just one point off the championship lead, will start eighth with Thomas Luthi (Paddock Suter) and Pasini rounding out the top 10.
Points leader Marc Marquez set the 12th best time, but the Catalunya Suter rider will start last thanks to the one minute penalty he gained after his incident with Ratthapak Wilairot in practice.
Times to follow...