Separated by less than 0.15 of a second, the three Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs finished first, second and third in qualifying in Suzuka.
The Briton showed considerable prowess and appeared to be in complete harmony with his TC1-spec Granta Sport on Circuito da Guia.
At the wheel of the Castrol-Civic WTCC Gabriele Tarquini will start on row 3 having finished the qualifying in 6th position.
James Thompson take pole position for Race 2
'Catch Me If You Can' time for the Argentinean José María López
The 2014 Honda Civic WTCC is a more complex technical machine than the previous model.
The 2012 World Champion will take up pole position on the reversed grid for Round 16 of the 24-race championship.
Four Honda Civics finished the session within this close group with Gabriele Tarquini in 10th place for Race 1 .