Marc Marquez dealt his Moto2 title charge a major boost with a commanding display in qualifying at Motegi, as current leader Stefan Bradl could only qualify eighth.
Marquez was on top for almost the entire session, setting an early pace on the Catalunya Suter that left him three tenths clear until times dropped in the final minutes.
His only serious competition came in the form of a late rally from Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Suter), who came within 0.07s of finally displacing Marquez at the top.
Marquez reacted to the charge and both riders were on faster laps as the chequered flag fell. While Luthi hit traffic in the third sector, Marquez was able to further extend his advantage, setting a 1m52.067s to seal his seventh pole in the last nine races.
Luthi finished second, his first front-row start since the fourth round at France, while Andrea Iannone (Speed Master Suter) completed a front-row sweep for Suter as he improved late on to take third.
Alex de Angelis (JIR Motobi) was another late improver, demoting Bradl (Kiefer Kalex) to eighth. Bradl's championship lead therefore looks precarious, the gap over Marquez having fallen from 82 points to just six over the past seven races.
Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP Suter) and Mattia Pasini (Ioda FTR) rounded out the top ten in a session which featured several heavy crashes.
Randy Krummenacher on the Kiefer Kalex was the first victim, a huge high-side on the final corner of the first lap bringing his qualifying to a very early close.
Pol Espargaro was then lucky to escape from serious injury as he crashed on the final corner right in front of Kenny Noyes. Noyes had no time to react and squeezed his bike between Espargaro and the stricken Speed Up FTR.
With ten minutes to go, Max Neukirchner (NZ) and Sergio Gadea - who stepped up to Moto2 on the G22 Moriwaki in the last race at Aragon - both ended in the gravel.