(Reuters) - Jorge Lorenzo's record-shattering late burst put the MotoGP championship leader on pole position for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit.
The Yamaha rider cranked up the pace in the closing stages of Saturday's session to clock a record lap of two minutes 0.334 seconds and snatch his seventh pole position of the season ahead of title rival and fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa (2:00.528).
While it was uncannily similar to his pole-grabbing outing in Japan last week, Lorenzo will be hoping to prevent a repeat of the Motegi race where Honda's Pedrosa recorded his fourth win in five races to maintain his late-season title push.
Lorenzo's team mate Andrea Dovizioso (2:00.567) briefly held provisional pole in a thrilling qualifying session before finishing third on the timesheets to seal the final place on the front row.
Australian world champion Casey Stoner (2:00.811), still lacking speed following an ankle injury, struggled with the set-up of his Honda but still heads the second row, ahead of the Yamaha duo of Briton Cal Crutchlow and American Ben Spies.
Lorenzo leads the championship standings on 310 points to Pedrosa's 282 with Stoner a distant third on 197.
The Spaniard sealed his sole world title at Sepang in 2010 and can repeat the feat should he win and Pedrosa fail to finish, with just two rounds remaining after the Malaysia race.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien