Pedrosa on pole in Valencia
Dani Pedrosa put his Australian disappointment behind him to beat 2012 Champ Jorge Lorenzo to pole position with a new lap record at the season finale in Valencia.
His 1:30.844 secured the Honda rider's fifth pole position of the season and also beat the qualifying lap record at the track, which was previously held by Valentino Rossi, by 0.158s.
"It was a very good lap, I was really pushing in that lap as I knew the front row was tight," Pedrosa said. "It's always good to finish the season on the front. Today was a good session so just hoping tomorrow to do the same."
The sun shone down on the Spanish circuit as the riders headed out for the final qualifying session of this season, including new World Champion Lorenzo, who was greated by mass applause from his Spanish fans, and his predecessor, the soon-to-be-retired Casey Stoner.
Lorenzo set the early pace ahead of Stoner before the duo were overhauled by Pedrosa. The Honda rider, who lost his chance of winning the title when he crashed out of the lead at the last race in Australia, posted a 1:32.327.
This sparked a brief battle between Lorenzo and Pedrosa for the top spot which the Yamaha rider held by 0.139s. Stefan Bradl was third ahead of Stoner, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso.
However, the session hit a lull as the riders switched their attention to set-up having lost time on Friday when the rain came down. As such there were several slips, slides and wobbles, although everyone managed to stay on the bike.
With 15 to go qualifying heated up with Bradl the first to lay down his marker as he climbed to second only to drop as Stoner went quickest with a 1:31.568.
That was the signal for the rest to go with Pedrosa improving to second before Lorenzo went top by a tenth, the top three separated by just 0.107s. But it was by no means over.
In a thrilling final three minutes Stoner went quickest only for his time to be blitzed by his Honda teammate as Pedrosa crossed the line with a 1:30.844, a new qualifying lap record for the Valencia circuit.
That time proved to be unbeatable although Lorenzo did sneak into second to break the Honda dead-lock. Crutchlow was fourth ahead of Bradl and Dovizioso.
As for the CRT's, that battle was won by Aleix Espargaro, who put his Aspar up into 10th place, ahead of Ducati's Valentino Rossi.
Yamaha rider Lorenzo was assured the title after Pedrosa crashed out at Phillip Island.
1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 1'30.844
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing 1'31.195 0.351
3 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team 1'31.428 0.584
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'31.512 0.668
5 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP 1'31.757 0.913
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'31.795 0.951
7 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team 1'32.503 1.659
8 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'32.585 1.741
9 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team 1'32.605 1.761
10 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar 1'32.834 1.990
11 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team 1'32.877 2.033
12 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar 1'33.346 2.502
13 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1'33.442 2.598
14 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1'33.453 2.609
15 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'33.971 3.127
16 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamaha Factory Racing 1'33.979 3.135
17 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project 1'33.980 3.136
18 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens 1'34.407 3.563
19 Roberto ROLFO ITA Speed Master 1'34.866 4.022
20 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport 1'34.918 4.074
21 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Avintia Blusens 1'35.363 4.519
22 Claudio CORTI ITA Avintia Blusens 1'36.531 5.687