Nicky Hayden finally scored his first front row start for Ducati in Indianapolis with the American securing third place on the grid for today’s 28-lap clash.
Hayden has qualified on the second row of the grid five times in 2010 but briefly threatened to claim a shock pole position on home soil when he led qualifying in the final moments.
But a lap of 1.40.336 was just 0.011s away from Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo in second place and the 2006 world champion said: “It's my first front row since I've been on Ducati.
"So it's nice because qualifying was something I really struggled with last year and something we worked a lot on in the off-season. Getting on the front row is really important.
"I know with my race pace, if I'm going to fight at the front, I can't expect to start seventh or eighth and just kind of work my way up and pick guys off. The bike felt a lot better in qualifying and I'm happy to be on the front row. It's the first time for Ducati and it's a good little step for me.”
Hayden has never finished off the podium in Indianapolis and his third place last season remains his solitary rostrum finish for Ducati.
With compatriot Ben Spies claiming his career first pole position, Hayden said it was hugely important for the profile of MotoGP in America to have two home riders in the top three on the grid.
He added: “I think it's awesome for MotoGP here in America. A lot of people are pushing to help expose the sport to new people.
"At the moment it's all about Spanish are dominating MotoGP in every class this year. We need to step our game up a little.”