Cal Crutchlow will get a third attempt to convert a MotoGP front row start into a maiden podium result after qualifying a fine third for the Catalunya Grand Prix.

The British rider has been edging closer to the MotoGP rostrum this season, but while his race results have certainly been impressive thus far, fourth position remains his peak.

Nonetheless, Crutchlow's excellent single-lap pace was very much in evidence around the Barcelona circuit as he diced with the front runners during the closing stages, the former WSBK race winner even leading a Tech 3 Yamaha 1-2 at one stage.

Though both Casey Stoner and Yamaha counterpart Jorge Lorenzo would eventually surpass him, Crutchlow was otherwise thrilled to secure a spot on the outside of the front row.

"I am really happy to be back on the front row again and it feels great considering this is only the second time I have been to this track," he said. "I expected to be up there challenging but wasn't sure where and my Yamaha Tech 3 crew did another fantastic job with the bike today. It proves again that I've got the raw speed and consistency and now I am really looking forward to the race.

"It will be really tough if the conditions are the same with the temperature so hot but I am ready for it. This morning I only used an old soft rear tyre and I was still really fast, so I knew when I put in a new soft rear this afternoon that I could be much quicker.

"I got in a good lap even though I'm not completely comfortable with the set-up and I will definitely run the hard front and soft rear for the race. The hard doesn't give a big advantage over race distance. Today is a great result and hopefully I can do the same job tomorrow when it really counts."