With temperatures increasing during final qualifying for the Catalan Grand Prix, very few riders were expected to better their provisional times, but as the hour-long session came to a close Olivier Jacque produced a stunning lap to find a 1.011 second improvement over his provisional qualifying time.

The Frenchman produced a 1min 44.358secs effort in the final few minutes of the session to lift himself up from tenth on the time sheets to third - a front row start for tomorrow's 25-lap race and Jacque's first this season.

Although much of the gain came from the team's effort at improving the M1's overall balance, Jacque admits the slipstream provided by defending MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi helped.

"I didn't intentionally wait for Rossi to come by, but being behind him undoubtedly helped - not in terms of trajectory - there wasn't any big difference in our lines - but in terms of slipstream," said OJ. "At a circuit like this, for example, with a very long straight, you can gain significantly in top speed when you are tucked in behind someone.

"Obviously though, even to be able to do that your bike needs to be good and we have worked well here since the start of the weekend. Our set-up isn't radically different from Mugello but we have made a number of small improvements that together make the bike more competitive," he added. "As far as the race is concerned tyre choice is going to be crucial. Whatever happens it is going to be a tough one, but hopefully starting from the front row I will be able to stay with the front runners and put in a good result."