Tom Sykes missed out on his eighth Superpole of the 2012 World Superbike season by just 0.049s at the Nurburgring in Germany on Saturday.
The Kawasaki star, returning to the scene of his debut 2011 WSBK race victory, didn't make the most of the narrow window of optimum qualifying tyre performance - and was almost as quick on his fourth and final lap.
“It was interesting in Superpole because towards the end I thought I may as well give it one last go, even on a used qualifying tyre," said Sykes.
“I was disappointed with my first [and fastest] lap when the tyres were fresh and the last lap shows what maybe I could have done.
“I had one last go on lap four but the tyre ran out - which is normal because four laps on a qualifying tyre is not possible.”
Sykes will start between title leaders Max Biaggi (Aprilia) and Marco Melandri (BMW), both of whom he trails in the championship.
The Englishman is 22.5 points from Biaggi and 41 from Melandri with three rounds remaining.
“We are in third place in the championship and the Kawasaki ZX-10R is working great and I am able to do a little bit more of what I want with the package, so we have proved that we can run at the front,” said Sykes.
“Overall the season has gone well, but we are here now for another race and always improving. I am looking forward to the racing on Sunday. Not starting on pole position is very good because so far nobody has been able to convert it to a win yet.
“Starting in second place in Monza and Moscow [which Sykes won at] was good and we will see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully the Kawasaki will be strong yet again.”
Team-mate Loris Baz - also a race winner in 2012 - will start from the outside of row two, in eighth.
“We were looking to get into Superpole two and if everything was going well we would look to get into Superpole three. We did that so we must be very happy,” said the Frenchman.
“This morning and in the second free practice we found a few settings that made the bike more comfortable for the race distance. In the afternoon I did two good long runs so I am really confident that we have found a lot of positive things for the race.”