Valentino Rossi, Italian motorcycling ace, took a step towards claiming one of the two remaining MotoGP races on the calendar he is yet to win by securing pole position at the Istanbul Park Circuit in Turkey on Saturday.
The seven-time world champion clocked 1 minute 52.795 seconds on his Yamaha to edge out American team-mate Colin Edwards by 0.149 seconds, while Spaniard Dani Pedrosa qualified third fastest on his Honda.
Australia's Casey Stoner, who won the first MotoGP of the season in Qatar, was fourth quickest on his Ducati, while defending world champion Nicky Hayden of the United States qualified sixth fastest.
Rossi was delighted with the 47th pole position of his illustrious career, despite not being at one of his preferred venues.
"I'm very happy to have a pole position at this track, which has never been one of my favourites," Rossi said.
"I've had some bad moments here in the past but this year it feels like a different track for me and I'm having great fun!"
The Italian has not won in Istanbul during the two years that the Turkish race has been part of the MotoGP calendar, with his most immediate rivals right on the speed as the top three are separated by less than 0.2sec.
"All three of us are very close on the front row so I think it's going to be a tight battle tomorrow," added Rossi.
Yamaha team-mate Edwards was surprised with his lofty qualifying place.
"After the problems we had yesterday (in practice) I've got to say a massive thanks to my team."
Rossi, who won the second MotoGP of the season in Jerez, Spain as well as finishing second in Qatar, goes into Sunday's race with a nine-point championship lead over Stoner and Pedrosa.
Edwards is fourth, 219 points off the pace, with Hayden down in sixth, 28 points behind Rossi.