Reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo was unable to repeat his pace-setting final practice form in the afternoon qualifying session for the German GP, but the Yamaha star will start a close third and is predicting a 'great race'.
Lorenzo led qualifying through the middle stages of the hour, but was unable to make any significant gains on the softer tyre and had dropped out of the top four until the last moments.
Saving his best for last, Lorenzo then pinched a place on the front row by just 0.010sec from Marco Simoncelli on his final lap.
Lorenzo will line-up alongside pole sitter Casey Stoner and the Australian's Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa on Sunday.
“It's been a strong weekend so far. I've never felt great on this track but this weekend I'm riding fast and feeling comfortable," said Lorenzo, 19 points from title leader Stoner.
"It was a pity at the end of qualifying that the soft tyre didn't improve anything so much.
"In the end I couldn't make pole position, but I think third position on the front row is a good place to start tomorrow for the race; I got it by just 0.010!
"Casey is very strong but I hope to be ready to fight for the victory with him. I think the fans will see a great race as there are a lot of riders who can fight for the win.”
Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies was on much better form than yesterday, a good night's sleep had shaken off most of his head cold and the Texan was keen to attack the track.
Clear improvements were evident, Spies climbing from seventh in the morning to fifth in qualifying, just 0.375sec from pole.
“Today was definitely better," said the Assen winner. "I'm still not 100% but I'm feeling a lot more clear headed on the bike. We were able to make the bike a bit better and I was able to ride better today to get into the top five.
"I made a mistake on my last lap, totally my fault, two corners to go I lost the rear, then saved it but then lost the front as well which cost me a tenth. It might have made us a little closer to the front but we're still in the middle of the second row so we can put a good race together tomorrow.”