Today’s qualifying session at the Marco Simoncelli World Circuit in Misano more than made up for a miserable yesterday as pole position was in doubt until the very end when Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa stole the spot from his championship rival Jorge Lorenzo by just .018 of a second in a session that saw some six riders take a turn at the top.
When it was all said and done, however, it came down to the two men who are fighting for the MotoGP World Championship – Honda’s Pedrosa and Yamaha’s Lorenzo – and the spot went to Pedrosa, the Spaniard earning his fourth pole position of the season as he tries to win his fourth GP of the season tomorrow. Pedrosa shot from fourth to first at the very end, lapping at a best of 1:33.857 to Lorenzo’s 1:33.875.
With yesterday’s sessions wet and with most of the top men not even turning a wheel, today’s session was held in dry and sunny conditions. Losing yesterday meant that today’s session was hectic as teams and riders fought to make up for the lost day.
With Pedrosa and Lorenzo at the top, third on the grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix went to Cal Crutchlow, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider holding the top spot with just three minutes remaining only to see both the Spaniards pass him. Still, it will be the Brit’s fifth front-row start.
Jonathan Rea ended up ninth on the grid in his MotoGP debut.
Stefan Bradl will lead the third row, the LCR Honda rider also taking a turn at the top of the timesheets until getting bumped down the order at the very end. The German ended up just .220 of a second behind Crutchlow and .364 of a second behind Pedrosa.
Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and Marlboro Ducati’s Valentino Rossi will join Bradl on the second row, with Rossi .762 of a second behind Pedrosa in what will be his final home race on the Ducati.
Row three will be led by Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovizisio, the Italian holding off factory Yamaha’s Ben Spies by .072 of a second. Spies had suffered a crash earlier in the session, but escaped without injury.
Repsol Honda’s Jonathan Rea was impressive in his MotoGP debut as he fills in for the injured Casey Stoner. The World Superbike factory star ended up ninth – 1.5 seconds behind Pedrosa after his first dry MotoGP session. He will complete row three.
Row four will be headed by Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, the Kentuckian coming in his first race back since suffering a hand injury during qualifying for the Red Bull Indy GP that forced him to miss the Czech Republic round.
Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and lead CRT rider Randy de Puniet will join Hayden on the fourth row.
Texan Colin Edwards ended up 20th on the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter entry.
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:33.857
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:33.875
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:34.401
4. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:34.221
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1:34.299
6. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1:34.619
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 1:34.916
8. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:34.988
9. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:35.358
10. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:35.401
20. Colin Edwards (Suter) 1:38.068