Valentino Rossi has taken the first ever MotoGP pole position at Indianapolis - putting an end to Casey Stoner's seven successive pole positions in the process.
After MotoGP's miserable Indy debut in soaking wet conditions on Friday, day two thankfully proved rain-free and allowed the 800cc prototypes to stretch their legs around the new Indy road course.
The limited dry running - even final free practice was held on a damp track - helped produce a hectic qualifying session, in which the likes of Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards delighted the local fans by joining regular frontrunners Rossi and Stoner in battling for pole.
Add in further pole appearances by Toni Elias, Randy de Puniet and Jorge Lorenzo and you get an idea of the thrilling show on offer this afternoon.
Rossi, who will start this Sunday's race with a 75 point world championship lead over Stoner, reached the top for the final time with seven minutes remaining - then extended his lead to almost half a second over Stoner on his last flying lap.
Hayden, who had been sliding his RC212V like the old 990cc RC211V, got a little too sideways on his last pole attack and was denied a front row start when Lorenzo and then Stoner snatched second position from the American on their own final laps.
Stoner managed to get within 0.084secs of Rossi, setting the scene for a close race on Sunday - although wet weather is predicted to return - while Lorenzo backed up his podium return at Misano by lapping within 0.4secs of Fiat Yamaha team-mate Rossi to be the top Michelin rider.
Lorenzo was just 0.094secs faster than Hayden, with wild-card Ben Spies qualifying a very impressive fifth in only his third MotoGP qualifying session. The triple AMA Superbike champion, overlooked by Suzuki for 2009, qualified eight place in front of the next quickest GSV-R, of Loris Capirossi, in 13th.
After several pole appearances, Randy de Puniet dropped to sixth for Honda LCR, with Andrea Dovizioso seventh and Dani Pedrosa eighth on his qualifying debut with Bridgestone tyres and the pneumatic valve RC212V.