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.