Record pace puts Lorenzo on pole in Brno
Jorge Lorenzo blazed his way to pole position in Sunday's Czech Grand Prix, twice setting the lap record in Brno on Saturday as he looks to extends his championship lead.
The Spaniard raced the 5.4 km course in 1:55.799 on his Yamaha, scorching Valentino Rossi's previous lap record of 1:56.145 from 2009. Earlier in qualifying, he had nipped Rossi's best by one-thousandth of a second.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow will start second in Sunday's race after the Yamaha rider also bettered the 2009 mark with a 1:55.995 lap. Spain's Dani Pedrosa, second in the overall standings and 18 points behind Lorenzo, will round out the front row on his Honda.
The day, though, belonged to Lorenzo, last season's runner up and the 2010 world champion. He will go for his sixth first-place finish and 11th podium spot of the season on Sunday.
"(The bike had) very good pace and I think we are ready for tomorrow," Lorenzo told reporters.
Pedrosa, coming off his second victory of the season in Indianapolis last weekend, had looked a strong favourite for pole after setting the pace in final practice.
Rossi, a nine-times world champion across the classes but enduring another tough season for Ducati, was nearly a second off the pace.
He finished sixth quickest behind American Ben Spies and Italian Andrea Dovizioso - his replacement at Ducati next season when the Italian great returns to Yamaha.
Honda's Casey Stoner, the 2011 champion who is third in the this season's standings, was ruled out this weekend because he needs surgery on his damaged left ankle.
Ducati's Nicky Hayden will also miss Sunday's race after suffering a hand injury during qualifying last weekend.
1. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) 1min 55.799sec
2. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Yamaha) at 0.196s
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 0.528
4. Ben Spies (USA/Yamaha) 0.532
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Yamaha) 0.760
6. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Ducati) 0.936
7. Stefan Bradl (GER/Honda) 1.028
8. Alvaro Bautista (ESP/Honda) 1.269
9. Karel Abraham (CZE/Ducati) 1.974
10. Randy de Puniet (FRA/ART) 2.045
11. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/ART) 2.354
12. Yonny Hernandez (COL/BQR) 3.288
13. Toni Elias (ESP/Ducati) 3.321
14. Michele Pirro (ITA/FTR) 3.588
15. Colin Edwards (USA/Suter) 4.064
16. Mattia Pasini (ITA/ART) 4.066
17. James Ellison (GBR/ART) 4.517
18. Ivan Silva (ESP/BQR) 4.530
19. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/Ioda) 5.055