Casey Stoner ignored his injured right leg and the ongoing pain caused by surgery to fractures and ligaments to take pole at the Australian MotoGP - the fifth time in a row he has done so.
Riding in his home country, and on a circuit named after him, the retiring 27-year-old caused panic when he flew off his Repsol Honda at the hairpin called Honda Corner, crashing to the floor.
There was immediate concern owing to Stoner's recent injury problems, but he was quickly on his feet and setting a fastest time of one minute 29.623 seconds.
The time was half a second quicker than Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, whose Yamaha will be second on the grid.
Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa is third and, despite conceding a second to his colleague, will be pleased to have kept Lorenzo, his title rival, in his sights.
Lorenzo leads the race for the title with 330 points and Pedrosa is 23 shy of him, meaning the result of this race will be pivotal.
Stoner was the talking point, though, on a weekend which is a long lap of honour for him. He admitted afterwards, however, that his crash could have had consequences.
"I was on my out-lap on a hard tyre and the thing just decided to flick me," he said.
"I was lucky I didn't come down on my foot - if it had been the other way it could have been a different story."
Great Britain's Cal Crutchlow is fourth on his Yamaha, with Stefan Bradl fifth and Andrea Dovizioso sixth. The top 10 is completed by Alvaro Bautista, Valentino Rossi, Randy De Puniet and Nicky Hayden.