Ian Hutchinson admitted his surprise after claiming pole position for Saturday's 47th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix on his return to competitive action.
The Yorkshire star grabbed the top spot by five hundredths of a second from eight-time winner Michael Rutter in the closing stages of final qualifying.
Milwaukee Yamaha rider Hutchy, who is competing for the first time since the 2012 Isle of Man TT after undergoing further surgery on his damaged left leg this year, said big changes to the front and rear of the YZF-R1 made all the difference as he secured pole.
“We made quite a big change from yesterday front and rear, as we've been really struggling, really trying hard,” he said.
“Towards the end of the session I thought the track felt better than yesterday, so I knew it had to be the changes we made.
“So I took the risk that we'd get it back how it was in time. It took about 15 minutes so I had about four minutes, a lap, to go.
“I never expected to get pole but I was hoping for a front row start,” added Hutchinson.
“I'm pleased it's come out like this and it's nice to get praise from all the riders. I've had a lot of support.”
Hutchinson and SMT Honda rider Rutter are joined on the front row by John McGuinness on the Honda TT Legends Fireblade, who was 1.8 seconds down on the front two for the 15-lap race.