Casey Stoner, winner at Donington Park for the past two years, salvaged fourth on the grid for the 2009 event at the end of a 'really difficult day' that included two crashes for the Ducati Marlboro star.
The Australian suffered two front-end falls, one in morning practice and then again halfway through qualifying, before claiming fourth on the grid on his last lap with his spare bike.
"I'm a bit frustrated because I think we could have been on the front row today but considering everything, fourth place isn't that bad,” said the 2007 world champion, who starts round ten third in the world championship behind Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
“It was actually a really difficult day for us, we had a few problems this morning, we have struggled to find the good feeling with the bike that we've had in the last few races, but we modified the set-up for the afternoon and things felt better, allowing me to go fast from the start.
“We were trying a different configuration on each bike but unfortunately about halfway through the session, when we were trying something with the front, I crashed and damaged my number 1 machine and that obviously made things worse.
“We didn't have enough time left to transfer that setting onto the second bike so we managed to improve a little on the soft tyre but it still wasn't enough. We'll have to see what happens tomorrow and to try to get as many points as possible. I'd almost prefer it to rain because it would be better for my physical condition,” he concluded.
Team-mate Nicky Hayden, who qualified a Ducati-best fourth last weekend in Germany, will start just 15th for the final Donington Park MotoGP round. Like Stoner, the American won't be disappointed if the forecast rain materialises for race day.
“It hasn't been a very productive day for us at all. We've struggled a lot to get feel into the bike, especially on the left side it has been a problem getting enough heat into the tyres to give me good feedback,” explained Nicky.
“My qualifying lap was only an improvement of about a second on my first run this morning, which was our first time on the track in the dry, and obviously that's not good enough.
“I did a pretty poor job today at the end of qualifying and probably stayed out too long when I had another soft tyre I could have come in and changed to, but time was running out.
“I also had a little clutch problem there at the end, which didn't help but the bottom line is we haven't been fast enough all day. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for rain tomorrow. I'll be sorry for the fans if it does but selfishly we might need it!” he confessed.