Pedrosa turns heat on Lorenzo with pole
In-form Spaniard Dani Pedrosa will start from pole position in Sunday’s San Marino MotoGP after qualifying fastest on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Honda rider — taking his 41st career pole spot and his 23rd in MotoGP — was 0.018sec quicker than 2010 champion and compatriot Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha.
Briton Cal Crutchlow will start from third spot as he finished 0.0144sec slower.
Pedrosa trails Lorenzo by 13 points in the overall standings after 12 races, having won the last two events.
“We had to try and retry the tyres, correct the suspension, and put into place some other alterations and all that in an hour. That was a very a short time,” said Pedrosa.
“It is very important to start in front because the first parts of the circuit are very narrow.” Lorenzo said that it had been a tough qualifying phase.
“The session was really hard as it was our first dry one,” said the 25-year-old Spaniard.
“I struggled at the beginning to get the pace as we only had that hour of dry conditions. At the end I was able to get much better every lap and improved the bike a little bit.
“In the end we missed pole by such a little time. We are very close to Dani so I think everybody is waiting for a big battle tomorrow.”
Pedrosa posted the early leading time on the fourth lap but was only able to confirm his fourth pole of the campaign in the dying seconds as first Crutchlow and then Lorenzo timed faster.
However, Pedrosa, who has never won the MotoGP title but was the youngest ever 250cc world champion aged just 19 in 2004, deprived Lorenzo of pole with a final surge in the last part of the circuit.
Italian nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi equalled his best qualifying performance of the season in taking sixth in what is his final race on home soil for the Ducati team before rejoining Yamaha.
Jonathan Rea posted the ninth quickest time in his first race deputising for Honda’s defending world champion Casey Stoner, who is recovering after leg surgery and will retire at the end of the season.