Ben Spies enjoyed his best qualifying session of the season, at Assen on Friday, when he was denied his first Factory Yamaha pole by just 0.009sec.

The Texan, riding in a special red-and-white livery to celebrate Yamaha's 50th anniversary of grand prix racing, believes he stood a good chance of overhauling Marco Simoncelli for pole, had it not been for Loris Capirossi's accident.

Nevertheless, Spies' biggest concern was for the injured Italian as he prepares to make his first front row start of the year. Capirossi won't start Saturday's seventh round after being injured in the accident.

"The best qualifying of the year so far, it was a good session for us," said Spies. "We would have liked to get pole position, but unfortunately on my fast lap Loris went down and there were a lot of yellow flags.

"I want to be a little bit upset, but I want him to be ok a lot more than I wanted pole position.

"All in all it was a great qualifying, the bike is working really good, race pace is good so I'm confident for the race tomorrow. I don't know what kind of weather we are going to get so we'll see how it goes," added Spies, who has taken one podium this year.

Team-mate and reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo will start from the second row, in fourth, after struggling in the faster corners.

"Today has been a complicated practice and qualifying," said the Spaniard. "We made many stops in the morning session and in the qualifying. The most important thing is we can see that our closest championship rivals are pretty close but I know we still need to make a step forward to be better.

"I have had problems in the fast corners today, I didn't have so much grip on the rear so we have work to do for tomorrow. I'm very confident the team will do a good job to be ready to fight for the podium for the 50th Anniversary. Obviously the weather is not helping and we should be ready for both wet and dry conditions."

Lorenzo will start the race 18 points behind Casey Stoner in the world championship. The Repsol Honda rider qualified third.