Alex de Angelis and Randy de Puniet could be fighting for the first podium finish of the season by a satellite Honda rider, during Sunday's German Grand Prix at Sachsenring.
After an impressive pace in both wet and dry conditions, the pair will start alongside each other in fifth and sixth, despite both taking a tumble during Saturday's wet qualifying session.
de Angelis finished the hour 1.970sec behind pole sitter Valentino Rossi, but just 0.086sec slower than fourth placed Nicky Hayden.
"We started out really well and my lap times were good in the early part of the session, when we were using a tyre that we already put a few laps on yesterday," explained Alex, who has a best race finish of sixth this season and was a joint career-best fourth in last year's wet German race. "With a new tyre it was really hard to generate the heat to get it working at optimum temperature but gradually I started to feel better.
“Then unfortunately I crashed in the corner where everybody else went down too. It is never a nice feeling to crash but especially when I know that I could have made an attack at least for the front row. Anyway, fifth place is a fantastic result for us and if it rains again tomorrow then we're ideally placed. Even if it is dry we know we have a good starting position and good pace for what I hope can be my best race of the season.”
Unlike de Angelis, de Puniet has qualified on the second row twice already this year, and will be looking to at least threaten his best race finish of fourth so far in 2009.
“We have got a good grid position and I am quite satisfied but it has not been easy as wet session is always a gamble,” said the Frenchman. “Everybody pushed to find the limit but sometimes we pushed too much and crashed. I was very fast in the first run [12 laps] and my wet set up was almost perfect.
“Unfortunately I crashed because I opened the throttle too much and the asphalt was like an ice-skating rink!” he revealed. “After that I went out on my second bike but it took me some time to find the right pace. When I started to push I had some engine braking issues and with two laps to go I went out into the gravel.
“The guys must work hard to repair both bikes for tomorrow but I feel confident as we made a good performance in both conditions”.