Valentino Rossi said he had not expected to end up on pole position for the British Grand Prix given the tire problems he encountered earlier in the session.
The championship leader struggled to get up to speed on the harder Bridgestone, but found enough pace on soft tires to beat Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo to the top spot.
"For me it was a surprise as unfortunately we didn't try the harder tire this morning," said Rossi. "Looking at the performance of the other guys we expected to have good grip this afternoon, but when I put the harder tire on, we were in trouble. I didn't have enough grip to push a lot and my lap time was quite bad.
"So we stopped in the pits, we modified the bike a little bit and we improved a little bit on the harder tire. But it was not a fantastic pace. So we have to work on the setting."
But he said he was significantly happier with the soft tire's performance.
"Afterwards we made another modification, put the soft tire on and had great grip afterwards," Rossi said. "My bike turned and flowed well in the fast parts, so we did a good job with the team. I'm so happy with this pole position because it's a surprise."
Although the uncertain forecast could make tomorrow's race a lottery, Rossi said he felt more confident about his prospects with pole position secured.
"We'll wait for the weather conditions tomorrow but at least we'll start from the front," he said.