Dani Pedrosa secured pole position after topping the qualifying session for Sunday's French MotoGP.
The Spaniard clocked one minute 33.638 seconds to finish above frustrated Australian Casey Stoner.
Andrea Dovizioso looked comfortable on the circuit but finished third with Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow behind.
"I'm not usually a pole guy but we must work hard on the bike. I hope for some good settings for dry and wet," Barcelona's Pedrosa said.
Stoner said: "We had the pace to take pole - but I don't think I got one clean lap."
Honda rider Pedrosa edged out team-mate Stoner by 0.303 seconds as he performed well when conditions dried out in the latter stages of the qualifying session.
Briton Crutchlow had started the session well, being an early pace-setter, but he could not sustain that form.
The Coventry rider said: "I can't be disappointed to have qualified in fifth position but I think I could have challenged for pole position had things gone my way.
"I made a couple of small mistakes on my fast laps right at the end and that cost me a little bit of time. And we didn't have the best set-up with the bike.
"We made some modifications for qualifying but, with the conditions wet and damp at the start, we couldn't tell if it was an improvement and in hindsight it would have been better to stay with the setting I ran this morning."
Selected French MotoGP qualifying times from Le Mans:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 1 min 33.638 seconds
2. Casey Stoner (Aus) Honda 1:33.941
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Yamaha 1:33.976
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 1:34:104
5. Cal Crutchlow (GB) Yamaha 1:34:178
6. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1:34.669
7. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Ducati 1:34.907
8. Alvaro Bautista (Spa) Honda 1:34.922
9. Hector Barbera (Spa) Ducati 1:34.950
10. Karel Abraham (Cze) Ducati 1:35.250