The Honda rider pulled out a rapid last-gasp lap of the Texas track in two minutes 02.741 seconds to deny Vinales, winner of the season’s first two races for Yamaha, the top slot by 0.130 of a second.
MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez took pole position at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin for the fifth year in a row on Saturday with fellow Spaniard and overall leader Maverick Vinales alongside on the front row.
The two Spaniards were joined on the front of the grid by Italian great Valentino Rossi, Vinales’s team mate.
Marquez’s team mate and compatriot Dani Pedrosa led the second row ahead of French rider Johann Zarco, with the non-works Yamaha Tech 3 team, and triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo on a Ducati.
Suzuki rookie Alex Rins will miss Sunday’s race after crashing heavily in a cold and cloudy final practice and fracturing his left wrist.
The rider was taken to hospital to stabilize the injury and fix it temporarily with pins before he was cleared to fly home for surgery, which is likely to mean his absence from the next two or three races.
Rins also broke his right ankle in an accident while training on a motocross bike last month.