Dani Pedrosa beat Spanish rival Jorge Lorenzo to pole for their home grand prix after a thrilling qualifying battle at Jerez.
After a low-key start to the season in Qatar, Pedrosa has looked more competitive all weekend in Spain, and was able to overcome Lorenzo at the end of qualifying by 0.285sec.
Friday pace-setter Casey Stoner completes the front row, but had to overcome a strong challenge from his Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden, who was only 0.049sec slower in fifth and briefly looked set to outqualify the Australian for the first time in their partnership.
Series champion and Qatar winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) had been fastest for much of qualifying but could not raise his pace sufficiently in the end. Only a last-gasp lap got him into fourth ahead of Hayden.
LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet was the best of the non-factory riders in sixth, followed by Tech 3 Yamaha duo Colin Edwards and Ben Spies, the second works Honda of Andrea Dovizioso, and the resurgent Marco Melandri's Gresini Honda.
Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m39.202s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m39.487s + 0.285s
3. Casey Stoner Ducati 1m39.511s + 0.309s
4. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m39.558s + 0.356s
5. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m39.560s + 0.358s
6. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m30.591s + 0.389s
7. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m39.970s + 0.768s
8. Ben Spies Tech 3 Yamaha 1m39.989s + 0.787s
9. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m40.021s + 0.819s
10. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 1m40.027s + 0.825s
11. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m40.206s + 1.004s
12. Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda 1m40.322s + 1.120s
13. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m40.416s + 1.214s
14. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m40.482s + 1.280s
15. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 1m40.555s + 1.353s
16. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m40.586s + 1.384s
17. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 1m40.803s + 1.601s