Alvaro Bautista will return to the front row of the MotoGP grid for the first time since his debut 2012 Silverstone pole, courtesy of third place in Laguna Seca qualifying.
The Gresini Honda rider is continuing to rebuild his form after first-lap falls at Mugello and Catalunya, and arrived in the USA fresh from fifth place last Sunday in Germany.
“We had a good feeling with the bike on Friday and today we worked on race pace. It's very important to manage the tyres. I did a really good lap in qualifying and third is a very nice place to start,” said Bautista.
“This track is short and the difference between the riders is closer than normal. It will be important to make a good start, stay with the top riders and get your rhythm. You have to be careful with the tyre in the early laps but also not lose touch.
“I've had some bad races. Now I'm recovering my feeling, the team has more motivation and this weekend is going really well. I don't want to think about the result or have any pressure. Just try to enjoy myself and do my best,” he added.
Bautista, like LCR Honda pole sitter Stefan Bradl, will be fighting for a first podium of the year on Sunday. Title leader Marc Marquez will start in-between the satellite team riders.