ALCANIZ, Spain (AFP) –
Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo will start from pole position in Sunday’s Aragon MotoGP after qualifying fastest on Saturday.
The Spanish Yamaha rider, grabbing the 23rd pole of his career, edged out his compatriot, Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, by 88 thousandths of a second.
Briton Cal Crutchlow came in third for Yamaha to complete the front row line-up.
Lorenzo waited until towards the end of the session to deprive Pedrosa, placed second in the riders’ standings, of pole.
Pedrosa had to pick himself up after parting company with his bike earlier in the day.
“The pole position is really important,” said Lorenzo, who leads Pedrosa by 38 points in the world title chase.
“It was difficult at the beginning and the track was very scary because it was very slippery and cold – there were so many crashes.
“At the beginning we were four or so seconds slower than in the test a few weeks ago but in the end, on the qualifying tyre, we were able to push 100 percent. So we’re happy but Sunday is another day.”
Pedrosa was one of a number of fallers in the session with Ducati riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden also came to grief
“It was hard in the beginning because I actually wanted to stay on the track for longer,” said Pedrosa, who is celebrating his 27th birthday.
“Somehow, I lost the front so I lost a lot of time and had to go back to the pits. When I took the second bike it was hard because I knew it was the only bike remaining for me, so I had to settle for a while just to make sure I would be at the front of the grid.
“In the end I was able to forget more about it and push hard. The front row is always good so I hope to push more in the race.”
Occupying the second row are American Ben Spies, who had topped the free practice times, Germany’s Stefan Bradl and Italian Andrea Dovizioso.