Title-chasing Jorge Lorenzo gave himself a huge shot in the arm by clinching pole position for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island - but had to defeat a seagull as well as his rivals.
The Spaniard, who trails overall leader Marc Marquez by 43 points, set a new track record of one minute 27.899 seconds to get over the line first for Yamaha Factory Racing ahead of Sunday's race.
His next task is to make sure Marquez does not finish seven points ahead of him to keep the title race alive.
Marquez will start second to his main rival, clocking 1.28.120 in qualifying, with team-mate and third-overall Dani Pedrosa down in fifth for Repsol Honda.
Lorenzo took Australian hero Casey Stoner's record in the process, but only after pitting to remove a seagull which became lodged in the right fairing of his bike after a collision at the top of Lukey Heights.
Afterwards, though, it was a matter of just getting the job done for Lorenzo.
"We've done our best to be competitive," he said.
"This lap (we did) is a lap you can only do with a PlayStation. Today we made it - we improved seven tenths (of a second) from our first ride here.
"It's impressive how much faster we can go with new tyres. We're very proud of pole, but our most important thing is tomorrow."
Third place went to Valentino Rossi and Yamaha Factory Racing, with Alavaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda) fourth.
Great Britain's Cal Crutchlow was sixth with a time of 1.28.809, with just a second covering the top six.
The rest of the top 10 was made up of Bradley Smith in seventh, Nicky Hayden in eighth, Andrea Dovizioso in ninth and Andrea Iannone in 10th.
Lorenzo's pole gives him real hope ahead of what will be the 16th Grand Prix of an 18-race season.
Leading positions after MotoGP Final Qualifying:
1 Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 1min 27.899secs
2 Marc Marquez (Spa) Honda 1:28.120
3 Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 1:28.647
4 Alvaro Bautista (Spa) Honda 1:28.713
5 Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 1:28.748
6 Cal Crutchlow (Gbr) Yamaha 1:28.809
7 Bradley Smith (Gbr) Yamaha 1:28.941
8 Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 1:29.295
9 Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Ducati 1:29.660
10 Andrea Iannone (Ita) Ducati 1:29.756