Pedrosa is third in the championship standings
Dani Pedrosa left it late to grab pole from new world champion Valentino Rossi at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Repsol Honda rider clocked a time of two minutes 1.548 seconds in his final lap at the Sepang circuit to edge out the Italian by 0.409secs.
Rossi starts second on the grid with Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo third with a time of 2:02.171secs.
Last year's world champion Casey Stoner was seventh fastest, while Britain's James Toseland starts 12th on the grid.
With the circuit drying following a downpour during the 125cc session, the final five minutes were thrilling as the leadership changed hands on numerous occasions.
Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Rossi had all topped the timesheet before Pedrosa vaulted up to pole position.
Nicky Hayden was fourth fastest and will be joined on the second row by Colin Edwards, who took fifth, and Dovizioso, who had moved into provisional pole with two minutes of the session remaining, in sixth.
Stoner, Loris Capirossi, Randy de Puniet and John Hopkins completed the top 10.
"It is fantastic to be on pole here, especially since this is my first pole with Bridgestone tyres," said Pedrosa, who was still limping after injuring his knee in Australia.
"Track conditions were changing all the time this afternoon, so it was quite tricky.
"At the beginning it was wet, then little by little the track dried, so you had to be on the ball to understand when it was best to change tyres. I was able to get in a good lap time in my final run, and I'm very happy to get this pole position.
"Pole is particularly important here because the lap times are all very close, so a good start will be crucial."
Malaysian MotoGP qualifying result:
1 D Pedrosa (Spn) Honda 2:01.548
2 V Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 2:01.957
3 J Lorenzo (Spn) Yamaha 2:02.171
4 N Hayden (US) Honda 2:02.192
5 C Edwards (US) Yamaha 2:02.245
6 A Dovizioso (Ita) Honda 2:02.836
7 C Stoner (Aus) Ducati 2:02.953
8 L Capirossi (Ita) Suzuki 2:03.078
9 R de Puniet (Fr) Honda 2:03.110
10 J Hopkins (US) Kawasaki 2:03.184
250cc qualifying result:
1 M Simoncelli (Ita) Gilera 2mins 07.109secs
2 A Bautista (Spa) Aprilia 2:07.444
3 H Aoyama (Jpn) KTM 2:07.535
125cc qualifying result:
1 L Zanetti (Ita) KTM 2:28.760
2 P Espargaro (Spn) Derbi 2:30.385
3 S Gadea (Spn) Aprilia 2:30.386
4 D Webb (GB) Aprilia 2:30.611