MotoGP title leader Jorge Lorenzo credited weight distribution changes to his Factory Yamaha for propelling him into pole contention during an incident-packed Indianapolis qualifying.
Lorenzo had been seventh and 1.2s off the pace after Saturday morning's final practice - but got within 0.1s of title rival Dani Pedrosa and pole position during the twice interrupted afternoon qualifying session.
“A really tough weekend so far, I really thought I wouldn't be able to deliver but finally we modified the bike a lot with some weight on the rear to enter the corners with more confidence,” said Lorenzo.
“I felt great as a result, could lean a lot and open the throttle quickly so I got second and was close to Dani. We don't have a bad pace but not as good as Dani yet, we need to improve a little in the morning.”
Another thing Lorenzo would like to see improved is the slippery Indianapolis asphalt:
"I think this tarmac probably the worst tarmac in all the championship. I don't know why. Maybe it's because there aren't any races or motorcycle races around the track apart from MotoGP, or is because the tarmac is so slippery itself, I don't know. But I would like to have a better tarmac, more safety, more logical I would say, riding, and maybe probably we will work on it in the Safety Commission."
While Lorenzo may not have the raw speed of Pedrosa, team manager Wilco Zeelenberg feels he has the consistency.
“A very positive qualifying, Jorge found a way to ride the infield better to go with the bike improvements, over a second quicker than this morning,” he said. “We're happy with the result and the consistency which is important for tomorrow's race so let's see what happens.”
Lorenzo will start Sunday's race with a 23-point lead over Pedrosa.
Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies qualified fourth on the grid despite joining Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden in suffering a big highside through the Turn 13-14 section.