No rider has won from pole so far this season, marking a twelve race 'curse' that also includes the final two races of 2006, but Stoner - as last weekend at the Sachsenring - has now dominated every single on-track session at the US GP.

The Ducati Marlboro star will now hope to avoid the tyre troubles that ended his victory quest in Germany as he seeks to finally put the pole jinx to bed, claim his sixth win of the season and further extend his 32 point lead over Valentino Rossi heading into the summer break.

Among those fighting to keep the jinx alive will be Dani Pedrosa, winner last weekend, who will start alongside Stoner and finished second at Laguna Seca last season. Pedrosa took pole with five minutes to go and held it until Stoner hit the top with one-minute remaining, the Australian then edging 0.209secs ahead of the Repsol Honda rider on his final lap to confirm his third pole of 2007.

Completing the front row will be Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen, the 2006 US GP pole sitter and early race leader, who finally delivered a strong dry qualifying performance by holding pole until Pedrosa jumped ahead in the closing stages. The Australian, who suffered fuel supply problems in the 2006 Laguna heat, qualified 0.089secs behind Pedrosa.

Defending double US GP winner Nicky Hayden produced a welcome fourth to head row two, but still has concerns over his race pace, while Italians Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi will start alongside the reigning world champion. Rossi, riding with a sore left shoulder and little finger after a morning fall, lapped 0.391secs slower than his title rival with Capirossi 0.622secs from his pace setting team-mate.

Another Italian had a less fortunate session; Marco Melandri clipped the back of Kurtis Roberts ten minutes into the hour, sending the Honda Gresini rider off-track at high speed. Melandri, never lower than third in the three free practice sessions, was forced to bail off his RC212V before it slammed into an air fence before tumbling heavily to a halt.

After being carried away on a stretcher, the tough Italian was seen walking with a severe limp, but had returned to the Gresini pits within 30 minutes of his fall - where he received treated from Dr Costa - and was back on his bike for the final 26 minutes. Marco went on to qualify tenth, just 0.726secs from pole, and will start behind a third row consisting of John Hopkins, Colin Edwards and Shinya Nakano. Hopper saw his best lap wasted when he was badly held up by a slow moving Carlos Checa - whom the furious Anglo-American kicked out at as he rode past.

Of the wild-card/replacement riders, Kawasaki's Roger Lee Hayden ran as high as fifth early in the session but was left 16th - 1.133secs from pole - at the flag, perhaps due to a lack of experience on qualifying tyres. That said, many MotoGP regulars found only a marginal improvement on the soft rubber this afternoon.

AMA rival Miguel Duhamel qualified 19th, 1.631secs from Stoner, on the second Honda Gresini while Chaz Davies - replacing the injured Alex Hofmann at Pramac d'Antin - closed to within 1.806secs of pole after his third hour on the Desmosedici GP7. The former 250GP rider had got the better of both Duhamel and Roberts as the final ten minutes began, and will hope to be fighting with them again in Sunday's race.

Qualifying:

1. Stoner
2. Pedrosa
3. Vermeulen
4. Nicky Hayden
5. Rossi
6. Capirossi
7. Hopkins
8. Edwards
9. Nakano
10. Melandri
11. Tamada
12. West
13. de Puniet
14. Guintoli
15. Checa
16. Roger Lee Hayden
17. Barros
18. Roberts
19. Duhamel
20. Davies