Dani Pedrosa took a comfortable pole position for the Czech Republic Grand Prix as his dominance in dry conditions continued. Saturday morning practice took place in wet conditions allowing Casey Stoner to set the pace, despite crashing, but more settle weather in the afternoon saw Pedrosa return to the top.
Having set the pace on Friday, Pedrosa entered qualifying as the favourite but the battle for pole position was tighter than many would have expected. Stoner led early on but it was Jorge Lorenzo who was the first man to launch a serious assault, becoming the first man to go under the 1m57 barrier.
The world champion's time of 1:56.704 was quickly beaten by a fired-up Pedrosa but the Repsol Honda man only had four hundredths of a second in his pocket. Surprisingly, Stoner's challenge was falling rather flat and could only get to within two tenths of his teammate, with that coming on his very last lap.
By that point, Pedrosa was already in the process of going quicker and confirmed pole position with a 1:56.591. Despite showing signs of improvement late on, Lorenzo was forced to settle for second while Stoner had to make do with third, and later admitted he wasn't completely happy with his set-up.
Ben Spies heads up the second row, confirming Yamaha's improvement after a difficult start to the weekend, with Marco Simoncelli next to him in fifth. One of the stories of qualifying was undoubtedly Valentino Rossi though, who dragged the GP11.1 Ducati to its best qualifying result of the year in sixth.
With Rossi breaking the Honda-Yamaha stranglehold on the top six, Andrea Dovizioso will be disappointed with seventh, equalling his worst qualifying result of the year while American pair Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden will join him on row three.
Hiroshi Aoyama completes the top ten for San Carlo Gresini and will have Cal Crutchlow alongside. The Briton will be disappointed though after crashing on his first serious run in qualifying mode. At that point, Crutchlow was up in eighth place but his lack of activity dropped him to eleventh. Karel Abraham also crashed out towards the end and will start his home grand prix from the back of the grid in 17th.
The race should have 18 starters but John Hopkins has been forced out with injuries to two fingers on his right hand after crashing in practice. Completing a miserable day for Rizla Suzuki, Alvaro Bautista qualified down in 14th.
Cardion ab Grand Prix CeskÃ© Republiky: Qualifying Result
|1||Dani Pedrosa||SPA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:56.591|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||SPA||Yamaha||Yamaha Factory Racing||+0.113|
|3||Casey Stoner||AUS||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+0.269|
|4||Ben Spies||USA||Yamaha||Yamaha Factory Racing||+0.587|
|5||Marco Simoncelli||ITA||Honda||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+0.760|
|6||Valentino Rossi||ITA||Ducati||Ducati Team||+0.776|
|7||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+0.851|
|8||Colin Edwards||USA||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+1.085|
|9||Nicky Hayden||USA||Ducati||Ducati Team||+1.130|
|10||Hiroshi Aoyama||JAP||Honda||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+1.193|
|11||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+1.206|
|12||Toni Elias||SPA||Honda||LCR Honda MotoGP||+1.654|
|13||Hector Barbera||SPA||Ducati||Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP||+1.682|
|14||Alvaro Bautista||SPA||Suzuki||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||+1.683|
|15||Randy de Puniet||FRA||Ducati||Pramac Racing Team||+2.298|
|16||Loris Capirossi||ITA||Ducati||Pramac Racing Team||+2.347|
|17||Karel Abraham||CZE||Ducati||Cardion AB Motoracing||+2.355|
|107% Time: 2:04.752|
|NQ||John Hopkins (WC)||USA||Suzuki||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||No Time|