Zulfahmi Khairuddin claimed his maiden Moto3 pole position with a superb performance in qualifying for his home race in Malaysia.
The Ajo rider spent the session battling for the top spot with Aspar's Jonas Folger, but when it counted at the end, Khairuddin was untouchable.
A string of rapid laps took him to a 2m13.885s, nearly 0.3 seconds clear of his opposition as he wrapped up pole on his 21st birthday. The result was the first pole for a Malaysian at grand prix level.
Folger retained second place.
With Maverick Vinales' dramatic departure from the Avintia team effectively ending the championship fight, points leader Sandro Cortese could be very relaxed about qualifying third ahead of the race that will, barring disaster, mark his coronation.
Behind fourth-placed Louis Rossi, Luis Salom was fifth quickest. But he will be demoted to 10th on the grid as a penalty for crashing into Folger during the Motegi lead battle last weekend.
That will elevate Miguel Oliveira, Efren Vazquez, Brad Binder, Alex Rins and Adrian Martin.
Motegi winner Danny Kent was only 11th quickest on the third Ajo bike.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Zulfahmi Khairuddin Ajo KTM 2m13.885s 2. Jonas Folger Aspar Kalex-KTM 2m14.151s + 0.266s 3. Sandro Cortese Ajo KTM 2m14.599s + 0.714s 4. Louis Rossi Germany FTR-Honda 2m14.681s + 0.796s 5. Luis Salom RW Kalex-KTM 2m14.817s + 0.932s 6. Miguel Oliveira Monlau Suter-Honda 2m15.316s + 1.431s 7. Efren Vazquez Laglisse FTR-Honda 2m15.366s + 1.481s 8. Brad Binder RW Kalex-KTM 2m15.469s + 1.584s 9. Alex Rins Monlau Suter-Honda 2m15.814s + 1.929s 10. Adrian Martin Laglisse FTR-Honda 2m15.858s + 1.973s 11. Danny Kent Ajo KTM 2m15.897s + 2.012s 12. Niccolo Antonelli Gresini FTR-Honda 2m15.913s + 2.028s 13. Alessandro Tonucci Italia FMI FTR-Honda 2m15.915s + 2.030s 14. Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta FTR-Honda 2m16.087s + 2.202s 15. Alberto Moncayo Laglisse FTR-Honda 2m16.108s + 2.223s 16. Niklas Ajo TT Motion KTM 2m16.142s + 2.257s 17. Romano Fenati Italia FMI FTR-Honda 2m16.229s + 2.344s 18. Isaac Vinales Ongetta FTR-Honda 2m16.394s + 2.509s 19. Jack Miller Caretta Honda 2m16.404s + 2.519s 20. Alan Techer Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda 2m16.633s + 2.748s 21. Arthur Sissis Ajo KTM 2m16.650s + 2.765s 22. Toni Finsterbusch Germany Honda 2m16.828s + 2.943s 23. Josep Rodriguez FGR Honda 2m16.877s + 2.992s 24. Alex Marquez Ambrogio Suter-Honda 2m16.979s + 3.094s 25. Danny Webb Mahindra 2m17.545s + 3.660s 26. John McPhee Caretta KRP Honda 2m17.558s + 3.673s 27. Giulian Pedone Ambrogio Suter-Honda 2m17.732s + 3.847s 28. Kenta Fujii Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda 2m17.926s + 4.041s 29. Armando Pontone Ioda Italia 2m18.817s + 4.932s 30. Luca Amato Aspar Kalex-KTM 2m18.975s + 5.090s 31. Riccardo Moretti Mahindra 2m21.960s + 8.075s