Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa had to overcome chatter issues on his RCV en route to second position on the grid for the Japanese MotoGP.
Pedrosa, who lost pole position to arch rival Jorge Lorenzo on the final lap of qualifying, said the problem only emerged during the final afternoon session after a trouble-free run in the morning.
Nonetheless, he still managed to secure a front row start after a hot and heavy battle for the leading positions at the Twin Ring circuit with Lorenzo, Ben Spies and Cal Crutchlow all in the mix.
Pedrosa, fastest in the morning, set his best lap in a time of 1m 45.215s – 0.216s behind Lorenzo, who is 33 points clear at the top of the championship.
“In the end I didn't know the lap times of the others and I was just pushing as hard as I could to get a place on the front row of the grid because on my last exit I was eighth,” he said.
“I had many problems with chattering in qualifying and we still don't know why. Everything was OK during the free practices but this afternoon, it was hard to do the lap time.
“Finally the second place is good enough and I hope we can avoid this chattering in the race tomorrow,” added Pedrosa, who will start from row one on the grid for the ninth consecutive race.
“The key point will be to choose the correct rear tyre and be consistent for the whole race because the pace will be fast.”