Jorge Lorenzo is hoping to sign off his MotoGP world championship winning season by battling for his first ever Valencia victory on Sunday.
But to do so, the Fiat Yamaha rider will almost certainly need to beat Ducati's Casey Stoner, who has led three of the four track sessions so far this weekend and took pole from Lorenzo by 0.331sec.
Lorenzo is nonetheless the season's best qualifier and will receive his prize of a new car to add to his tally of plaudits from the year.
"I'm really excited and proud to be on the front row in front of the Spanish crowd, at this home race. Especially racing here; the last race is always special and everyone wants to do well," said Lorenzo.
"I tried my best to make the pole position today but Casey was really very quick today, I couldn't beat him. Let's see if we can keep in contact with him tomorrow in the race, if we can stay with him we can challenge. We will try the maximum as always.
Lorenzo is riding with a special crystal-encrusted helmet for his home race.
"X-Lite has honoured me with this special helmet and I am so proud of it, it looks like diamonds in the sunshine! Thanks to everyone and I hope to make a good race in it tomorrow," he said.
"We are happy with second because it was clear Casey had something different here today," added team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. "Jorge feels fine with no problems; good pace, good lap times and good consistency."