Ben Spies claimed his first MotoGP pole position on home ground by beating Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On the weekend that he was announced as a factory Yamaha rider for 2011, current Tech 3 man Spies initially jumped to pole with a 1m40.465s a quarter of an hour from the end.
Works rider Lorenzo failed to beat him by 0.012sec - but both were usurped when Ducati's local hero Hayden put in a 1m40.336s lap seven minutes later. Although Lorenzo managed to sneak ahead of Hayden, lapping just 0.011sec faster, he was only on pole for half a minute before Spies improved to 1m40.105s to take the top spot by a relatively comfortable 0.220s.
While Spies celebrated his first pole in the series and the first pole for a satellite rider since Tech 3 achieved the same feat with Colin Edwards at Shanghai two years ago, Hayden held on to third behind Lorenzo to claim his maiden front row start with Ducati.
The works Hondas had been quick in the opening part of the session but Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa fell to fourth and fifth at the end. Casey Stoner could not match his Ducati team-mate Hayden this time, and will start sixth.
All were in better shape than Valentino Rossi. The world champion was never on the absolute pace and crashed his Yamaha at Turn 6 in the final few minutes, leaving him seventh on the grid. Marco Simoncelli (Gresini Honda) recovered from an incident to qualify eighth, with Edwards ninth on the second Tech 3 Yamaha. Loris Capirossi gave the struggling Suzuki team the consolation of the final top 10 position.
Aleix Espargaro looked like he had a shot at a top 10 spot for Pramac Ducati for a while, but crashed and had to settle for 14th - one place behind Hiroshi Aoyama, who did an impressive job to take 13th in his first appearance for Interwetten Honda since injuring his back at Silverstone.