Motegi - Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo captured his fourth pole of the season on Saturday ahead of Sunday's Japan Grand Prix, keeping his hopes of defending the title alive.
The Yamaha rider clocked one minute 53.471 to edge out current championship leader Marc Marquez, who followed 0.658 later on the wet Twin Ring Motegi circuit.
Lorenzo has pledged to use the two remaining races of the season to derail the Honda rookie's attempt at the title.
Dense fog and torrential rain forced the cancellation of free practice on Friday and Saturday, and riders went straight into qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Rain stopped shortly before the MotoGP riders hit the tarmac, but puddles remained on the track.