Tech 3 Yamaha's Bradley Smith overhauled Ben Spies to secure an 11th place start for the MotoGP of the Americas in Austin.
Smith improved his time from Friday by 1.2s in Q2 to lap in 2m 06.591s and has taken heart from the fact that has consistently increased his pace during practice and qualifying.
“It has been a really hard two days but in the end it turned out very well and I'm happy with my performance,” said Smith.
“Trying to understand the bike and the Bridgestone tyres around this incredibly technical circuit has not been an easy task but it is nice that I made it into QP2 and then pick up another place on the grid as well to start from 11th.
“At one stage it didn't even look like I'd make it through to the final qualifying so I'm happy.
“I improve each time I go out and to be honest going into QP1 was a benefit for me because it meant I got a few more laps under my belt to understand the track more.”
The MotoGP rookie said his goal for Sunday's race is to secure a finish after he crashed out in his full race debut at Losail in Qatar.
“My only goal for the race is to make it to the finish after the crash in Qatar.
“I need to gain experience over a race distance and while 21-laps here is going to be really tough, I am really looking forward to it.”
Smith's time was 0.304s faster than Spies in 12th position on the Pramac Ducati but 1.172s behind Nicky Hayden
on the factory Desmosedici in tenth.