Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa may have qualified first and second on the grid for Sunday's German Grand prix, but with six riders within half-a-second of pole they are taking nothing for granted.

For points' leader Stoner, his sixth pole of the season marked a perfect recovery from a confidence-denting crash in Friday morning practice, for which he credited major set-up progress.

"After the crash on Friday my confidence was dented a little and we struggled to get enough data, so we've been playing catch up," said Stoner, who holds a 19 point lead over third-on-the grid Jorge Lorenzo.

"This afternoon we kept trying different directions on both bikes and every step we made on each bike, we took big steps forward so we're pretty happy with the set up we have now.

"The lap times are very close here so it will be a tough race and hard to take any real advantage. However, I'm very happy and positive we can still slightly improve tomorrow morning so thanks to all my team for a great job".

Pedrosa also had good reason to feel satisfied, having claimed his first front row start since suffering a broken collarbone at Le Mans in May.

The Spaniard returned to racing in Mugello two weeks ago, after missing the three previous races.

"It's great to be on the front row again, to be honest I didn't expect it," said Pedrosa. "But we've done a good job and it's important to start in front here because the first corner is very tight and it's better to avoid being immersed in the group at the start."

Although there are four factory Honda riders in the top six, Pedrosa is particularly wary of Yamaha riders Lorenzo (third) and Ben Spies (fifth).

"I think we will need to pay attention to Yamaha at the end of the race because the riding is smoother and they can save the tyres better," he explained.

"As for my condition, right now the races are physically hard for me, but it's also true that with more left hand corners in this circuit I don't suffer as in Mugello and I can concentrate on my riding.

"More than pain, I feel weak from lack of training, but we will give our maximum hoping to get a good result".

Third Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso starts sixth, but qualified only two tenths behind Pedrosa.

"I'm confident for tomorrow as we have good pace but it will be a hard race as there are five or six of us very close to each other," said Dovizioso. "Starting from the second row it will be important to have a good start and keep a constant rhythm without stressing the tyres too much as they get very hot here.

"In the first laps the right side of the tyre is difficult to get temperature into whilst the left side is stressed a lot so managing the tyres will be a crucial point for the race. We will work on the set up to fine tune the settings and I'm positive to fight for a good result tomorrow".

Marco Simoncelli, who rides a factory RCV for the Gresini team, qualified in fourth place.

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