Ben Spies claimed a stunning pole position for the first time in his career ahead of tomorrow’s Indianapolis MotoGP race.
The reigning World Superbike champion clocked a superb lap of 1.40.105 with just over two minutes of an exciting qualifying session remaining to thrill a sun-soaked home crowd.
The Texan, who will take Valentino Rossi’s place in Yamaha’s factory squad next season, had signalled his intentions just ten minutes earlier when he surged to the top of the timesheets with a 1.40.465.
That rocketed him up from ninth to first and put him just 0.012s clear of runaway world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.
His hopes of a maiden pole though were dented when compatriot Nicky Hayden moved to the top of the leaderboard with seven minutes remaining.
Hayden steered his factory Ducati GP10 to a lap of 1.40.336 that moved him 0.129s clear of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Spies.
Spies was then relegated to third spot when Lorenzo moved to the top of the timesheets with just under three minutes remaining.
A time of 1.40.325 seemed to have secured the Spaniard his sixth pole position of the season as the 23-year-old moved just 0.011s ahead of Hayden.
But Spies wasn’t finished and he produced a scintillating last lap to claim pole position.
It was only at the last race at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic that the 26-year-old had claimed his first front row start to extend his brilliant first full season in MotoGP.
Fiat Yamaha rider Lorenzo had no answer to Spies’ breathtaking lap and he had to settle for second spot, though he preserved his record of starting on the front row in all 11 races so far in 2010.
Hayden finished third to secure his first ever front row start for Ducati.
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso missed the front row by just 0.223s.
The Italian, who topped the timesheets with 16 minutes remaining, ended 0.454s adrift of Spies.
A further 0.078s back was Spaniard Dani Pedrosa who could only post a best time of 1.40.637 that just edged out Australian Casey Stoner,
Stoner never looked in serious contention for a front row start and after setting the quickest time in practice yesterday he will only start from the back of the second row.
Nobody could have predicted the trials and tribulations that hit reigning world champion Valentino Rossi on a shocking day for the 31-year-old.
Having suffered a front-end crash this morning, he was on the ground again in the final stages of qualifying and will start tomorrow’s 28-lap race from a lowly seventh.
Six minutes remained when Rossi lost the front of his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 again and it left him with a best time of 1.41.005.
That was a massive 0.900s adrift of Spies though the nine-times world champion once again walked away unhurt and didn’t aggravate the right leg he broke in Mugello in early June.