Valentino Rossi produced the fastest lap ever recorded on a motorcycle around Brno to take pole position for Sunday's Czech MotoGP, and then crashed out of the session while attempting to better it.
The reigning world champion had set the quickest first sector time with just three minutes to go in qualifying as he set out to eclipse his time of 1m56.145s, when the front-end of his FIAT Yamaha gave way and he slipped into the gravel. It was a rare error from the master, and while he walked away uninjured, his bike slammed hard into the barriers.
Rossi though, did manage to contain the challenge of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who for much of the weekend has shown the upper hand. The Spaniard was forced to settle for second position in the end, just 0.050s slower than Rossi, having led the way for much of the hour.
Dani Pedrosa qualified third fastest on the HRC Honda, more than 0.3s behind the Yamaha duo. He looked disappointed after he came up behind Mika Kallio at the end of his final flying lap, but in truth he didn't look likely to take the pole away from Rossi.
Toni Elias was fourth for the Gresini team that has just confirmed he has been dropped for 2010.
Colin Edwards continued his consistent form at Brno with fifth position ahead of Donington-winner Andrea Dovizioso on the other Repsol Honda.
Alex de Angelis was seventh ahead of Nicky Hayden, who for once was the fastest Ducati rider.
Indeed the American had the edge over Ducati stand-in Kallio for much of the session and the Finn even crashed trying to match him.
The two factory Italian machines were split by Loris Capirossi in ninth position, the Suzuki not showing quite the same potential it had in morning practice.
Pos Rider Bike Time Gap
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m56.145s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m56.195s + 0.050s
3. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m56.528s + 0.383s
4. Toni Elias Gresini Honda 1m56.817s + 0.672s
5. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m56.954s + 0.809s
6. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m57.108s + 0.963s
7. Alex de Angelis Gresini Honda 1m57.775s + 1.630s
8. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m57.803s + 1.658s
9. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m57.811s + 1.666s
10. Mika Kallio Ducati 1m57.994s + 1.849s
11. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1m58.087s + 1.942s
12. Niccolo Canepa Pramac Ducati 1m58.208s + 2.063s
13. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m58.298s + 2.153s
14. James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 1m58.331s + 2.186s
15. Marco Melandri Hayate Kawasaki 1m58.477s + 2.332s
16. Michel Fabrizio Pramac Ducati 1m58.680s + 2.535s
17. Gabor Talmacsi Scot Honda 1m58.749s + 2.604s