Reigning double MotoGP
champion Casey Stoner
took his 40th grand prix pole in qualifying at Catalunya on Saturday, ahead of what could be one of the most hard-to-predict races of the season.
Stoner, Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa
and Yamaha's title leader Jorge Lorenzo
have filled all but one of the podium places in the four events so far this year.
However potential differences in rear tyre choice and a heavy rate of degradation mean fellow top six starters Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso
and Ben Spies could also feature at the front during the grand prix.
And that's without taking into account the weather, which has been scorching hot for the past two days, but with an outside chance of rain for the race.
Small wonder Stoner, who has been concentrating on the harder option tyre but is also yet to make a final decision, is taking nothing for granted.
"So far we've done quite a lot on the hard tyre, quite a bit more than other people, and we feel quite confident with the pace," said Stoner, who took pole by 0.146s over Lorenzo.
"Everyone else seemed to put a few more laps on the soft tyre. It's a slight risk for tomorrow in warmer conditions, but if the conditions cool down there is every chance we can go to soft as well.
"I think this is going to be one of the first races in quite a long time where tyres may be quite critical, especially towards the end of the race.
"We haven't seen that very often with Bridgestone tyres, but if the extreme temperatures continue tomorrow there is every chance the tyres could get a little too high for too long."
Stoner also worked on improving the ongoing chatter problems with his RC213V.