Pedrosa snatches pole from Lorenzo
Dani Pedrosa claimed his fourth pole position of this season, beating title rival Jorge Lorenzo by 0.018s at Misano.
With six races to go, starting with this weekend's San Marino MotoGP, and just 13 points separating the two title contenders the stakes were high as qualifying got underway under blue skies and on a dry track.
After the dismal weather conditions in all three practice sessions, it was a busy start to the hour as the riders made the most of the conditions to finally do set-up work for Sunday's race.
Pedrosa, the winner of the last two MotoGPs, set the early pace with a 1:37.965, putting him ahead of Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl, Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, who is contesting his very last MotoGP on home soil with Ducati.
The riders put in lap after lap with Pedrosa lowering the benchmark time to a 1:34.776 by the halfway stage while Ben Spies, Andrea Dovizioso and Bradl all took a turn in the runner-up position as they fought it out for a front row starting position.
Lorenzo made his way up into second and begun to chip away at Pedrosa's lead. However, on the either side of the Yamaha garage it was another crash as Spies went down at Turn 2 after getting out of shape through the first corner. He was the second crasher of the session as Mattia Pasini had gone down earlier.
With 10 minutes to go the battle for pole position finally got under way as Lorenzo crossed the line with a 1:34.260, firing the first salvo. His time was bettered by Bradl while Pedrosa's first effort put him third.
With the clock counting down Cal Crutchlow pulled off a surprise as the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 took provisional pole with a 1:34.088 and then better than on his next lap. However, Lorenzo then came through with a 1:33.875 to lead the way before he was dropped by Pedrosa. It all came down to the Championship leader's final lap but he wasn't able to do it and had to settle for second, 0.018s down.
The second row belongs to Bradl, Bautista and Rossi while Dovizioso, Spies and Jonathan Rea were on the third. This weekend marks Rea's MotoGP debut as he is replacing the injured Casey Stoner at Honda.
1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 1'33.857
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing 1'33.875 +0.018s
3 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'34.001 +0.144s
4 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP 1'34.221 +0.364s
5 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'34.299 +0.442s
6 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team 1'34.619 +0.762s
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'34.916 +1.059s
8 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1'34.988 +1.131s
9 Jonathan REA GBR Repsol Honda Team 1'35.358 +1.501s
10 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team 1'35.401 +1.544s
11 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1'35.648 +1.791s
12 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar 1'35.756 +1.899s
13 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team 1'36.048 +2.191s
14 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar 1'36.284 +2.427s
15 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'36.340 +2.483s
16 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport 1'37.124 +3.267s
17 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master 1'37.162 +3.305s
18 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens 1'37.316 +3.459s
19 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project 1'37.751 +3.894s
20 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1'38.068 +4.211s
21 David SALOM SPA Avintia Blusens 1'40.075 +6.218s