Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa set the fastest lap ever by a motorcycle at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit to take the pole position for the final race of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship in Valencia, Spain.
Teammate Casey Stoner had been on top when Pedrosa unleashed his best effort, lapping the stadium-style track in 1:30.844 mins. The lap shattered the six-year-old mark of 1:31.002 mins. held by Valentino Rossi.
Pedrosa goes into his fourth home grand prix of the season with a career season high six wins, most of which were taken when Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was protecting his world championship lead. With Lorenzo having won the title two weeks ago in Australia, the final race of the year is expected to be a showdown between those two and Stoner.
Lorenzo stole second on the grid from Stoner with his final lap. The time of 1:31.195 mins. was .351 sec. slower than Pedrosa's. Stoner was another .233 sec. back in third to fill out the front row.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates dominated row two. Cal Crutchlow was fourth fastest, and only .084 sec. off the front row, with teammate Andrea Dovizioso sixth. In between came LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl.
There was a gap of .708 sec. to Nicky Hayden, the first of the Ducatis who qualified seventh fastest on the tighest row of the grid. Hayden was .082 sec. in front of Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini), with Hector Barbera (Pramac Racing Team) ninth fastest.
The top four riders in the championship-Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Stoner, and Dovizioso-are secure in their positions. Bautista holds an eight point lead on Ducati Marlboro's Valentino Rossi, who had another subpar qualfying effort. Rossi qualified in the middle of the fourth row in 11th place, sandwiched between a pair of CRT riders. Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaro was tenth and teammate Randy de Puniet 12th. And Rossi is only six points ahead of Crutchlow, who has a chance to finish sixth overall.
One row farther back Colin Edwards put the NGM Mobile Forward Racing BMW-Suter in 14th.
Valencia MotoGP Qualifying Results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:30.844
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:31.195
3. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:31.428
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:31.512
5. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:31.757
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 131.795
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:32.503
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1:32.585
9. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:32.605
10. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1:32.834
11. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1:32.877
14. Colin Edwards (Suter) 1:33.453