Johann Zarco took the first MotoGP pole of the season ahead of reigning champion Marc Marquez in Qatar, breaking the track's lap record as Valentino Rossi recovered from a crash in practice to place eighth.
Until Zarco's blistering 1:53.680 lap, the focus of the day had been on Rossi after he went down early in the third practice, with considerable damage done to his Yamaha.
But Rossi, who signed a two-year contract renewal with his team earlier this week, was still able to post the ninth-fastest time in practice and went one place better in qualifying.
Zarco had looked like the standout performer heading into qualifying and his stunning final lap smashed a 10-year track record to nudge ahead of Marquez on the front row.
The future of the Frenchman - a Moto2 champion in 2015 and 2016 - has been up in the air, with Honda among those reportedly interested in poaching the Tech3 Yamaha rider for 2019.
And Zarco would welcome the prospect of lining up alongside the dominant Marquez at Honda.
"To be Marquez's team-mate could be a nice thing," he said. "It's kind of a dream team, this Honda team. I remember some pictures of Mick Doohan, then Valentino Rossi, now Marquez.
"I need to wait and take the decision. First of all we do the first few races and then we will know."
Danilo Petrucci left it late to join Zarco and Marquez at the front with the third fastest time, while the second row will contain Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso and Alex Rins.
Dani Pedrosa, Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo make up a star-studded third row for Sunday's race.
|Silva loves me more than his girlfriend – Mendy|
|MLS Review: Timbers end NYC´s unbeaten start, Sounders claim first win|
|Flyers´ Couturier played with torn MCL|
|Emery praises PSG for maintaining motivation|
|Cavs´ Hill out for game four with back spasms|
|Oblak unsure over Atletico Madrid future|
|Klopp ready for ´different´ Roma test|
|Salah always determined to prove his Premier League worth|
|Landry earns first PGA Tour victory at Texas Open|
|City´s Sane named PFA Young Player of the Year|
|Salah pips De Bruyne to PFA Players´ Player of the Year award|
|Napoli bus spat at and insulted, Sarri claims|
|Navas will be at Real Madrid for many years – Perez|
|Juve still have the advantage, Allegri claims|
|Racing coach Labit ready for ´formidable´ Leinster challenge|
|Smalling not giving up on World Cup|
|Hard to catch Man City if they invest, Mourinho warns|
|Pogba: I have no problem with Mourinho|
|Koulibaly: Napoli have always believed in Scudetto|
|Bordeaux 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Lo Celso keeps champions on track for records|
|Atletico Madrid 0 Real Betis 0: More concerns for Simeone ahead of Europa League|
|Juventus 0 Napoli 1: Partenopei close the gap thanks to Koulibaly|
|Dominant Marquez maintains perfect record in Austin|
|Guardiola has no problem with Manchester City pitch invasion|
|Neymar must join Real Madrid to become the best - Rivaldo|
|There was no player better than De Bruyne - Guardiola backs City man for PFA award|
|Top managers should want Arsenal job, says Moyes|
|Manchester City boss Guardiola aiming to smash records following title triumph|
|Las Palmas relegated from LaLiga after 4-0 home defeat to Alaves|
|Archer and Gowtham combine for dramatic Royals victory|
|This won´t happen forever - dominant Nadal reflects on latest success|
|Andrew Bogut returns to Australia, signs with Sydney Kings|
|Manchester City break Premier League passing and possession records|
|Conte: Morata still important despite Giroud impact|
|Inter gave up against Chievo, admits Spalletti|
|Conte denies Mourinho rift ahead of FA Cup final|
|Levy claims fifth European Tour crown in Rabat|
|Diouf miss ´a turning point´ for both Stoke and Burnley|
|Hughes upset with lack of VAR after Southampton´s FA Cup loss|
|Manchester City 5 Swansea City 0: Guardiola´s champions turn on the style|
|Manchester United are FA Cup favourites, claims Chelsea boss Conte|
|United States and Czech Republic reach Fed Cup final|
|Rapid start sees Racing through to Champions Cup final|
|Benevento relegated after late Crotone winner|
|Jungels roars to Liege-Bastogne-Liege victory|
|I don´t need to die anymore - Wenger reflects on Arsenal ´funeral´|
|Hazard gives Conte a dazzling reminder of better days|
|Playing at Wembley is like playing in my garden - Giroud|
|Sevilla president casts doubt on future of Montella|
|´Hurtful´ fans damaged Arsenal´s image, Wenger claims|
|Chelsea 2 Southampton 0: Giroud and Morata book FA Cup final spot|
|Super Kings survive late onslaught to overshadow Sunrisers|
|Struggling Stoke have to win at Liverpool, concedes Butland|
|Did Wenger jump or was he pushed? – Arsenal boss proves evasive|
|Ramsey: Arsenal owe Wenger the perfect finale|
|Nadal sees off Nishikori to reign in Monte Carlo once again|
|Fit-again Mendy on the bench for Manchester City|
|Chievo 1 Inter 2: Icardi grateful to VAR as Nerazzurri remain in top-four hunt|
|Knights playmaker Pearce set for long absence|
|Arsenal 4 West Ham 1: Wenger´s long farewell begins in style|
|Stoke City 1 Burnley 1: Potters pegged back again as relegation nears|
|N´Zonzi apologises for partying after Sevilla´s Copa humiliation|
|Khan chasing Brook, not world titles, after spectacular comeback|
|Kaizer Chiefs ´worried about safety of players´ as coach quits after rioting|
|Elneny injury sparks World Cup fear|
|Arsenal aiming to give Wenger the perfect send off - Mertesacker|
|Chelsea v Southampton: Giroud wins Wembley nod over Morata|
|Don´t go to China, come to Betis! - Setien lauds Barcelona legend Iniesta|
|Argentina midfielder Biglia suffers ´severe´ back injury in Milan defeat|
|Departing Wenger hints at end-of-season reveal amid reports of sacking|