Ninth, fourth and seventh during free practice, MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo made a mid-qualifying breakthrough to claim the final place on the Indianapolis front row.
The Factory Yamaha rider, already 32 points behind Casey Stoner, had struggled to find a competitive set up on the newly resurfaced track.
A big set up change to his YZR-M1 with less than half the qualifying session to go changed his fortunes, allowing him to climb quickly up to third behind only his team-mate Ben Spies and pole sitter Stoner.
"It has been a nightmare until the last minutes in the qualifying," said Lorenzo. "Then we tried the other bike with some big modifications on the setup, I just came out and I find something really better braking.
"So I could improve my lap times so much and get close to the front guys. But still I don't feel very safe on this tarmac. I feel not so much confident, especially in the front."
Lorenzo will now use the valuable warm up time tomorrow morning to test the consistency of the set up before the race.
"It's going to be a very tough race for everybody. The front tyre, especially on the left side is graining from the fourth lap so it's going to be a complicated ride. Let's see what happens," he declared.
“Well I can say one thing, we finally found the right direction to go in which is where we struggled until half way through qualifying," confirmed team manager Wilco Zeelenberg.
"The bike was stable and we were quite pleased with the result. We need to find consistency now and see if we can improve a little bit more for the race.”