Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli is confident Ben Spies had the pace to earn a front row start for his home grand prix at Laguna Seca had he not crashed near the end of qualifying.
Spies had briefly held provisional pole prior to the fall, in which he was not hurt, but fell to fourth in the end as he was unable to get back to the pits in time to rejoin on his spare bike.
"We improved the bike a lot from yesterday in set-up and I think we could have got the first row," said Meregalli. "Second row is okay, just a three tenth gap, which is not so bad. I think tomorrow he can be there [at the front] too."
Spies said he had been doing his utmost to hold on to a front row place when he had the accident.
"I made a mistake and locked the front up on the brakes going into Turn 3 trying super hard to get on the front row," he said. "The Yamaha boss said to me last night that he wanted me on the front row so I was doing everything I could. Joking aside I was trying everything and just made a small mistake."
The American suffered only minor injuries in the incident and does not expect any problems in the race.
"I banged my hand up quite a bit but it will be fine and ready for the race tomorrow," Spies said. "I think we'll find a couple of things with the bike in the morning and hopefully it'll be a good day."