The most dramatic MotoGP qualifying session of the season ended with vastly different fortunes for the top three qualifiers. One returned to the pits in an ambulance, one in a four-wheel drive utility vehicle, and the third under his own power. And the health of the two crashers may go a long way in determining the outcome of Sunday's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.Fiat Yamaha's fast qualifier Jorge Lorenzo suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the second of his two qualifying crashes with about 3:35 minutes to run in the one-hour session, held on a sunny afternoon in the hills east of Monterey. Both crashes were in turn 10, a plunging right-hander near the end of the lap, but the second was far more damaging. In the first, which came with about 22 minutes to run, Lorenzo tucked the front and was able to walk away. He wasn't so lucky in the second.The rear end of his Yamaha YZF-M1 stepped out quickly, then caught traction, shooting him high into the air. He landed on his right side and shoulder and tumbled into the gravel. He initially tried to get up, but was put on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to the track medical center.Still, he plans to start Sunday's  race from the pole position after his fast lap of 1:21.678.Teammate Valentino Rossi snuck into second with his final lap of the 2.24-mile road course. Rossi had been in third when he uncorked the 1:21.845 to come within .167 secs. of Lorenzo's time. More importantly, he was the only rider who didn't crash and will start Sunday's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix the healthiest of the top three."First I hope that Casey [Stoner] and Jorge [Lorenzo] are fit and able to race tomorrow because for sure it will be a great battle," Rossi said. "With race tires the pace is very similar and at the end I am very happy about my second position, because today the two practices weren't perfect and we have some problems to fix and at the end, especially the last part of the track, I am not strong enough and I lose always too much time. We have to work, together with my team, for improve the setting tomorrow."For this reason, I am especially happy for the second place, because at the end I make a good, good lap not far from Lorenzo considering our problems. We have to try tomorrow to improve our setting and my feelings with the bike, because on this track is very difficult and very technical to try and control the bike, because it is tricky. We have to improve and we have to work and we see tomorrow if it is possible to make a bit better."With just over two minutes to go, Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner crashed in the right-hand turn three, also a high-side, though a less violent one. He was slow getting up, but was able to walk back into the garage after being driven there. Stoner's time of 1:21.910 mins. was good for third place.Hondas dominate row two, with Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa in front of teammate Andrea Dovizioso, while San Carlo Honda Gresini's Toni Elias matched his best qualifying effort by coming sixth.The Americans are on row three, Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards in front of Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden. Edwards spent much of the session struggling with a front end issue and near the bottom of the order before a late push moved him closer to the top. The Texan described the problem as feeling like someone was running along next to the Yamaha hitting the front forks with a hammer. Hayden's eighth was his best by far, eclipsing his 12th place qualifying spot from Motegi. His gap of only .862 secs. to the pole man was also a season best. Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen filled out the row.Vermeulen's teammate Loris Capirossi is on the row four pole in front of Hayate Racing's Marco Melandri (Kaw) and San Carlo Honda Gresini's Alex De Angelis.

MotoGP Qualifying:

1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:21.678

2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:21.845

3. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:21.910

4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:22.113

5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:22.135

6. Toni Elias (Honda) 1:22.146

7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:22.490

8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:22.540

9. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:22.633

10. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:22.662

11. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki) 1:22.842

12. Alex De Angelis (Honda) 1:23.004

13. Sete Gibernau (Ducati) 1:23.106

14. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 1:23.147

15. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:23.390

16. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1:23.912

17. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 1:24.528

MotoGP Headlines

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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