Spanish MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez will start in pole position for Sunday's German Grand Prix after finishing quickest in qualifying on Saturday.
Honda's championship leader Dani Pedrosa missed qualifying after suffering a head injury and fractured shoulder in Saturday's third practice session and is rated doubtful for Sunday's race.
If he does manage to line up he will set off from the back of the grid in 12th position.
Valentino looks very strong, he'll be difficult to beat
The 20-year-old Marquez secured the third pole of his career with a fastest qualifying time of 1min 21.311sec, with Britain's Cal Crutchlow second at 0.123sec and Italy's Valentino Rossi third at 0.182secs.
"The goal is always to get on the podium," said Marquez, before admitting he was concerned about the form of veteran Rossi.
"Valentino looks very strong, he'll be difficult to beat."
Having claimed his first win since 2010 at the Dutch GP a fortnight ago, six-time world MotoGP champion Rossi was happy with his first front row start in 988 days since the Portuguese Grand Prix of 2010.
"I'm fighting back with the best. Qualifing times like that confirm my result at Assen," beamed the 34-year-old Italian.
Accidents in practice were suffered not only by Pedrosa but also reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who is already out of Sunday's showdown after crashing on Friday, two weeks after fracturing his collarbone at the Dutch GP.
Marquez's lap of 1min 21.311sec was within three tenths of a second off Casey Stoner's best ever lap of the Sachsenring, achieved in 2008, as he stormed to his third pole after Texas and Le Mans.
Crutchlow will start inside the top two for the third race in succession, despite two heavy falls on Friday which have left the Englishman in pain.
Germany's Stefan Bradl heads up the second row at his home event, whereas a top five result came thanks to a stunning effort from 23-year-old Spaniard Aleix Espargaro.
Ducati duo Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso start in sixth and ninth, better than expected, while Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith and Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista will fill slots seven and eight.