Dani Pedrosa is celebrating his 27th birthday today, but Jorge Lorenzo wasn't in the mood for gift giving as he went out and took pole position from his countryman in waning moments of qualifying for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Aragon in Spain.
With the MotoGP class facing its first dry session of the weekend, things were hot and heavy and it was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow holding down the top spot as things go serious at the end. Pedrosa was the first to strike back at the Brit, ripping off a 1:49.534 with some three and a half minutes left in the session to go to the top. But Lorenzo wasn't finished and he struck with two minutes go, lapping at 1:49.404 to move to the top. When Crutchlow and Pedrosa failed to better that in their final laps, Lorenzo had earned his fifth pole position of the season.
Pedrosa, who had crashed early in the session, held on for second - just .088 of a second behind - and then came Crutchlow, the Brit earning his third straight front-row start and his sixth of the season with his 1:49.576.
Ben Spies, who led yesterday's wet session, ended up fourth on the second factory Yamaha - just .172 of a second behind Crutchlow. Spies will be joined on the second row by LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovizioso.
Repsol Honda's Jonathan Rea used the experience from testing at Aragon a few weeks ago to qualify seventh for his second career MotoGP, the fill-in rider for the injured Casey Stoner besting both the factory Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden.
The two Ducatis both suffered crashes in the session with Rossi crashing early and Hayden crashing late. Both riders escaped injury, but will start tomorrow's race from eight and ninth on the grid.
Pramac Racing Ducati's Hector Barbera ended up 10th.
The third American in MotoGP, Colin Edwards, qualified 17th on his NGM Mobile Forward Racing CRT entry.
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:49.404
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:49.492
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:49.576
4. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:49.748
5. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:50.034
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 1:50.241
7. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:50.410
8. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1:50.949
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:51.013
10. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:51.072
17. Colin Edwards (Suter) 1:52.853