Monterey: Stefan Bradl became the first German rider to win a MotoGP pole, edging rookie Marc Marquez, who crashed late in qualifying, at the US Grand Prix.
Bradl on Saturday posted a top lap time of one minute, 21.176 seconds, finishing just 17 thousandths of a second quicker than Marquez, whose challenge was cut short by a crash on turn six at Laguna Seca.
Defending MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa qualified sixth and seventh, respectively, after suffering injuries in crashes last week in Germany.
Bradl is not only the first German pole-sitter but he is the second MotoGP rider to claim a maiden pole this season.
"It`s really nice to be on the pole," said Honda`s Bradl.
"It was one of the best laps I had ever done. I put a lot of effort into this qualifying because I knew it was going to be tough."
"I had a clear track with my second tyre and I just went for it. I was really happy, especially with the last section which I think I was doing really fast."
The 23-year-old from Augsburg finished seventh after starting ninth on the grid at last year`s US Grand Prix.
"It`s really nice to be here and I will enjoy it. For sure, it will be a little bit different for tomorrow, but we know we have the pace and we will keep going," he said.
Bradl will start alongside Marquez and Alvaro Bautista in an all-Honda front row.
Bradl, the 2011 Moto2 world champion, claimed his first ever MotoGP front row spot just two races ago when he qualified third at Assen.
Marquez, 20, spilled his bike just four minutes before the qualifying session ended. The Spaniard posted the fastest times in three of the four practice sessions.
The second row includes Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow.
The second row also features Lorenzo who is still suffering from the effects of a broken left collarbone. The injury forced him to miss last weekend`s German Grand Prix.
Pedrosa also skipped the Sachsenring race with a collarbone injury but he was able to qualify on row three for the Laguna Seca race.
Sunday`s race marks the halfway point of the MotoGP season.
I`ve always said the person who wins the world championship this year is the person who does the best job on the circuit, but that does not seem the way it is at the moment.