Cal Crutchlow defied his relative lack of track knowledge, and satellite machinery, to qualify fourth on the grid for the inaugural Circuit of the Americas MotoGP.
The Yamaha Tech 3 rider missed out on a front row start by just 0.167s to Factory Yamaha's world champion Jorge Lorenzo. However Crutchlow was the only rider in the top five not to have taken part in the private March test.
The Englishman also out-qualified Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi by four places and 1.1s on the Repsol Honda dominated timesheets.
“I am really happy to qualify in fourth, even though it would have been nice to be back on the front row again,” said Crutchlow, who qualified second in Qatar.
“But coming here with no previous track experience meant it was always going to be an uphill battle, so to finish so close to Lorenzo and be ahead of Bradl and Valentino, who both tested here last month, is a great achievement for myself and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.
“This is a long and technical track, but fortunately I have been able to learn it very quickly and my crew have also got their heads around what I need to go fast and together we have done a great job to be so far up the grid. I'm obviously quite a long way off Marquez and Dani but so is everybody else.
“It will be a really tough race and very physical for 21-laps but having come here without any prior track knowledge, I always said a top six finish will be mission accomplished for me and that remains my goal.”
Rookie team-mate Bradley Smith will start eleventh.