Jorge Lorenzo was under team-mate Valentino Rossi's pole position time for three out of the four track sectors, during his last qualifying lap at Assen on Friday, but lost it all in the final section.
As a result, the Fiat Yamaha rider - who lost out to fellow world championship leader Rossi at the very final turn in Catalunya – will start third on the Dutch TT grid, 0.368sec behind Rossi and 0.283sec behind Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.
“I'm happy with the first row, another one for this season, and this is the most important thing with regards to the start of the race tomorrow,” began Lorenzo. “Of course I wanted my fourth pole position but I had some problems in the last sector; I'm not sure why yet.
“We need to continue working to try to improve in that area and to understand the problem, because the race is going to be very hard with quite a few riders up front. We don't know what the weather will be and so we will have to wait and see until warm-up tomorrow morning,” he added.
“We were hoping maybe for second with that last lap, but third is okay as well and Jorge is very fast,” said team manager Daniele Romagnoli. “He did a long run during the session and his pace was very good, but we still need to improve slightly in T4, because this is where we are losing a bit of time. We will work on this tonight and use the warm-up - weather permitting - to make final improvements.”
Casey Stoner, the third rider tied at the top of the championship, will start from fourth for Ducati.