MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo may have missed out on pole at Brno by 0.113sec to Dani Pedrosa, but he will start ahead of title leader Casey Stoner.
Lorenzo, 20 points behind Stoner, is now approaching Sunday's race in a positive mood after solving most of Friday's braking problems to split the Repsol Honda riders in qualifying.
“Yesterday things weren't like we expected but we made some changes and improved braking to make the bike more stable," said Lorenzo. "The lap time improved from that and we got a lot closer to Dani today and finished in front of Casey.
"The pace in the last laps was quite good so we're happy. Big thanks to my team who worked hard to improve the bike. Tomorrow we aim for the podium or if it is possible to win the race.”
“Of course we would have liked pole but there's less pressure when you don't have it! Jorge was very consistent in the 1'56s so a big improvement from yesterday and tyres are no problem for us. Let's see what we can do tomorrow," added team manager Wilco Zeelenberg.
Team-mate Ben Spies put in a brave effort to secure fourth despite suffering a numb arm from a trapped nerve which hampered his ability to brake and turn the bike.
The Texan had been running as high as second, but was unable to hold on to his front row start at the end. He will continue to work with Clinica Mobile this evening for more physio in advance of tomorrow's race.
“Today honestly went a lot better than expected, we're at least in a good starting position for tomorrow," said Spies. "I'm not 100% confident about the race and what we can do but we've shown we've got the speed and the bike is good enough for top five. We'll do the best we can, I'm not going to make any promises but I know I've got at least half a good race in me.
"If we get some good rest tonight then hopefully we'll get lucky and catch a break and be good for it. We're optimistic, the bike is working well and the speed is there, I just hope I can be there too. I need to say a big thank you to all the guys at Clinica Mobile who are working hard this weekend to keep me in the game.”