Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will be under pressure to try and prevent Jorge Lorenzo increasing his title advantage for the third race in a row at Catalunya on Sunday.
Fiat Yamaha rider Lorenzo will start from pole position with Pedrosa fourth and Dovizioso sixth, the factory RCV riders having been out-qualified by satellite Honda rider Randy de Puniet for the third race in succession.
Lorenzo has won both races since second-in-the-championship Pedrosa took victory at Mugello, while Dovizioso has not finished in front of Lorenzo at any of the six races so far this year.
The end result is that Pedrosa starts round seven 47 points from Lorenzo, with third placed Dovizioso a further four points back.
“The second row is not perfect but anyway, the position is not a big deal and to be fourth is ok with the lap times so close here," said Pedrosa. "Today we've been trying the tyre options to check which will be the best ones for the race. It will be a tough race tomorrow because of the heat, and also because of the level of our rivals. Also managing the tyre performance so that we can lap consistently at 1m 43s will be critical.
"We need to work a little more on the chassis set-up because this morning I felt better than this afternoon. Anyway, we are better than we were at the last race in Assen in terms of qualifying performance, and we had a strong race there.
"Obviously I want to have a good race in front of all the people who will come to support me and we'll certainly be going for it.”
Dovizioso spent much of the qualifying session in second position before being nudged backwards in the closing minutes.
“I'm satisfied with the race pace and I think we are ready for tomorrow," he said. "The second row is not the best position to start but being on the front two rows is the important thing. Also, we were using the hard Bridgestone tyre at the end of the session so this qualifying position doesn't truly reflect our potential.
" We need to adjust the electronic controls because the bike is sliding quite a lot - due to the characteristics of this track and also because of the heat. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. I really like this track and the atmosphere is always fantastic here.”