Casey Stoner looks set to battle for his first ever Jerez podium after claiming third on the grid in Saturday's qualifying session.
Jerez is one of only two circuits on this year's calendar where Ducati's 2007 world champion Stoner has not finished on the podium in any class of grand prix racing (the other being Indianapolis).
In his three years at Jerez on a MotoGP machine, Stoner's best result has been fifth in 2007, after starting from fifth on the grid - his previous best MotoGP qualifying result at the fan-packed circuit.
Last year the Australian finished a frustrated eleventh after twice running into the gravel, but he now looks on course to achieve his goal of staying in touch with the title leaders during the opening half of the 2009 season.
The Qatar winner, who will start the event third in the championship behind Fiat Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo (+3 points) and Valentino Rossi (+2 points), battled the windy conditions to lap just over 0.4sec behind local stars Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
"Our bike has never really worked well here in the past but we worked hard during the test and over the past two days to come up with a package that is at least competitive,” said Stoner, who won a BMW by being fastest during the Jerez pre-season test.
“This morning it felt really good and even though we weren't top of the time sheets I felt confident. Unfortunately the wind tends to unsettle our bike and it was pretty hairy out there this afternoon - it certainly didn't help me feel more confident with the bike after the front end issues we had yesterday!
“I set myself the target of a position on the second row so to get on the front row is an unexpected bonus and it will be really helpful for tomorrow.
“Until the last couple of years I'd always found it hard to do well in my home race but the Spanish and Italian guys always seem to find an extra gear on their own turf.