Andrea Dovizioso believes his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, starting just fifth on the grid, could be the rider to beat in Sunday's Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Dovizioso qualified one place in front of Pedrosa in a session that saw the first MotoGP pole for Ben Spies, with another home rider, Nicky Hayden, qualifying on the outside of the front row in third.
Between them on the front row will be title leader Jorge Lorenzo,
"I think it will be a tight group going into the first turns, and Spies and Nicky will be very determined in front of their home fans, but actually the fastest person in terms of race pace is Dani," said Dovizioso. "He has a margin of two or three tenths compared to us."
Pedrosa, who crashed from the lead at Indy last year, admitted he is feeling good on the harder option tyres.
“We improved our times quite a lot from yesterday and made some good progress with the machine set-up and race pace," said the double 2010 race winner, who starts round eleven 77 points behind Lorenzo, but 39 clear of third placed Casey Stoner.
"With these high track temperatures it looks like the harder option tyre will be the one to go with and we have a decent pace on this tyre, although I don't know if all the riders will make the same choice.
"I'm sure the American riders will be very strong, and also the riders who are normally at the front, so here maybe we will have more rivals to consider. Still, my feeling with the hard Bridgestone is good so I think we can do a good race tomorrow.”