Last Sunday's German MotoGP winner Dani Pedrosa will fight for a second victory in succession from the outside of the front row, in third, during this Sunday's US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
The Spaniard, still recovering from a fractured collarbone in May, is expecting a tough physical challenge in Sunday's race - and would like a little more rear grip to take on Yamaha's pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo.
Repsol Honda team-mate and world championship leader Casey Stoner will start between Lorenzo and Pedrosa.
"We couldn't improve as much as I'd like to in the final part of the practice, we tried some different settings and unfortunately we didn't find a good one, but to start from the front row is always important and here we are again," said Pedrosa, who was 0.183sec from pole.
"I felt more comfortable with the hard tyres, which it's positive because they will be the ones used for the race, but we still need to make another step forward tomorrow and hopefully find a little more grip in the rear.
"Lorenzo seems very stable and fast, so I hope to find something else with my mechanics tonight and to be able to fight for a great result tomorrow. The race will be very fast, there are many laps here, so it will be important to be focus on every lap and stay strong until the end.
"I know the race distance will be hard for me physically, you have to work a lot in this track, there are a lot of bumps and you need to be very focused not to make any mistakes. But I will try my best and I hope to stay strong and consistent until the end".
Pedrosa won at Laguna Seca in 2009