Jorge Lorenzo has taken a hard fought fifth consecutive MotoGP pole position for the 2010 United States Grand Prix after denying Casey Stoner with a stunning last lap effort.
Just as they had done in free practice, Lorenzo and Stoner diced for pole position throughout the qualifying session, but it was the Ducati rider who looked most likely to come away with the top spot as he consistently lowered the benchmark.
However, just as Stoner had put a two tenth margin between himself and Lorenzo with a 1min 21.169secs with only two minutes remaining, the Spaniard struck back with a 1min 20.978secs to put him out of reach.
Between them, the top two riders were half a second clear of the remaining competition, led by Andrea Dovizioso, who secured a long-awaited maiden MotoGP front row start with an impressive run to third.
Coming in the week it is rumoured he will be 'downgraded' at Honda for the 2011 season to make way for Casey Stoner, the Italian made his sales pitch to edge out team-mate and '09 Laguna Seca winner Dani Pedrosa.
It was a tight affair between third down to sixth, with Dovizioso, Pedrosa, Ben Spies and Valentino Rossi split by a mere seven hundredths of a second.
Local favourite Spies was consistently vying for a spot on the second row throughout the session and was at a time on course for a possible third place start until he got bumped down in the closing stages.
Still, he did just enough to edge ahead of Rossi, the reigning champion nonetheless putting in a sterling effort at the final time of asking having languished on the provisional third row for much of the session.
Nicky Hayden will start seventh, just ahead of fellow American Colin Edwards, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider proving some six tenths slower than his team-mate.