Marc Marquez has taken pole position in wet conditions, while Karel Abraham will sensationally line up in the middle of the front row in Argentina.
Cal Crutchlow qualified third, while both factory Ducatis missed Q2.
Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso did face stiff competition in the first 15-minute session of qualifying, with Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, and impressive rookie Johann Zarco joining them after rain in FP3 denied those riders a chance to improve on poor Friday showings.
The rain continued when Q1 got underway at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo, but eased through the session.
Rossi languished in ninth when the chequered flag flew, but then went quickest.
Pedrosa would end up topping the session, however, bumping Dovizioso in the process.
In Q2, Marquez led Loris Baz and Crutchlow at the end of the first runs, while Abraham was seventh.
With only very light drizzle now falling, and some dry lines emerging, Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) swapped to slicks for his second run, but didn’t bother trying to set a lap before reverting to his wet bike.
Pedrosa and then Danilo Petrucci had turns in second position before Abraham jumped onto the front row.
Meanwhile, Marquez had improved on his own best again, the Repsol Honda rider maintaining a perfect qualifying record in Argentina since the grand prix returned to the calendar in 2014.
For the unfancied Abraham and his 2015-spec Ducati, the result represents his first front row start in MotoGP, having returned to grand prix motorcycle racing with the Aspar team after a year in World Superbikes.
“It feels just amazing, it feels just great,” said Abraham.
“Yesterday we had a good result (fourth in combined practice) and I knew it would be really, really difficult today to prove that we can be on the top and it will be even harder tomorrow but our targets for the race did not change.
“We know what we want and what we need to achieve and we’ll work for that.”
Crutchlow joins the Spaniard and the Czech at the head of the grid after a late effort on his LCR Honda.
Petrucci (Pramac Ducati), Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), and Round 1 winner Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha) form the second row.
The remainder of the top 10 is Rossi (Movistar Yamaha), Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia), Baz (Avintia Ducati), and the second Aspar Ducati of Alvaro Bautista.
Jack Miller qualified 17th for Marc VDS Honda.
The 25-lap Argentina Grand Prix gets underway at 0500 AEST on Monday.
Qualifying: Argentina Grand Prix
|1||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1’47.512|
|2||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||1’48.275||0.763 / 0.763|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||1’48.278||0.766 / 0.003|
|4||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||1’48.908||1.396 / 0.630|
|5||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1’49.008||1.496 / 0.100|
|6||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1’49.218||1.706 / 0.210|
|7||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1’49.272||1.760 / 0.054|
|8||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1’49.323||1.811 / 0.051|
|9||Loris BAZ||FRA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1’49.630||2.118 / 0.307|
|10||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||1’49.724||2.212 / 0.094|
|11||Jonas FOLGER||GER||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1’49.825||2.313 / 0.101|
|12||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1’50.725||3.213 / 0.900|
|13||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1’49.488||Q1 / Q1|
|14||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1’49.916||Q1 / 0.428|
|15||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||1’50.048||Q1 / 0.132|
|16||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1’50.310||Q1 / 0.262|
|17||Jack MILLER||AUS||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1’50.319||Q1 / 0.009|
|18||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1’50.673||Q1 / 0.354|
|19||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1’50.676||Q1 / 0.003|
|20||Tito RABAT||SPA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1’50.910||Q1 / 0.234|
|21||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1’51.058||Q1 / 0.148|
|22||Sam LOWES||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1’51.199||Q1 / 0.141|
|23||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1’52.340||Q1 / 1.141|