Having been fastest in all three practice sessions, and on top for 51 minutes of the qualifying hour, Casey Stoner couldn't hide his disappointment at seeing Marco Simoncelli snatch Catalunya pole away from him by just 0.016sec in the final moments.
"I'm disappointed with qualifying, we had good pace and should have been able to go a lot faster on new tyres," explained Stoner.
"In my first run of the session the bike wasn't working so well, the tyres weren't warming up as expected with that set up and I had a lot less grip on the soft tyre, which we couldn't understand why.
"We tried changing inner pressure but it made it worse and we weren't able to do anything with the last tyre which I'm very frustrated with because I almost did the same lap time with the soft and the hard tyre.
"Front row is obviously where we want to be but I'm annoyed as we spent the whole session working on the tyres and not improving the bike set up. For tomorrow we're confident with our race pace on hard tyres if the weather stays dry, it's just upsetting to have a qualifying session like this".
Stoner will be chasing his third win of the season in Sunday's fifth round as he also seeks to close the 12 point gap to Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, who will start from third on the grid.
Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso will start from fifth on the grid, but believes he can be one of three riders taking the fight to Stoner.
"Montmelo is a special track, you slide a lot and it's good fun to ride with a MotoGP bike. This morning we worked on the set up and weight balance to improve the grip and this afternoon I had a better feeling.
"I'm happy with the race pace, we lapped consistently and together with Stoner, who made an impressive lap time, I think myself, Sic and Lorenzo will all be in the fight.
"The first row was possible but in my last lap I went wide at Turn 5, so I lost the opportunity. But to start from the second row is also fine as I feel strong and I have the pace to fight in the race. Tomorrow we will have a good race, hard fought and I look forward to it”.