Seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi took the pole position yesterday for the season-opening Qatar GP in Doha.
Rossi, also fastest in Thursday's combined free practices astride his new Yamaha, completed 22 laps of the 5.4km Losail International Circuit in the Qatari capital with a best time of 1 minute, 55.002 seconds.
Stoner of Australia, Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards of the US, and Tony Elias of Spain will join Rossi on the front grid for today's first race of the 18-round season.
In the qualifier yesterday, Ducati rider Stoner clocked the second-best time of 1:55.007 in the last of his 18th laps. Edwards clocked 1:55.23 and Elias, on a Honda, came in fourth in 1:55.35.
Defending world champion Nicky Hayden of the US fared slightly better than in Thursday's practice laps. Hayden, who helped Honda race to the world title last year, was ninth quickest in 1:56.04.
Hayden's Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa of Spain was fifth yesterday, impressive during his 24 laps with a time of 1:55.36.
John Hopkins of the US (1:55.83) and Loris Capirossi of Italy (1:55.85) qualified sixth and seventh respectively.