Jorge Lorenzo clinched his second consecutive pole in the 2012 MotoGP season after winning a titanic battle with Dani Pedrosa in qualifying at Jerez. A brief shower midway through the hour-long session caused a lull in proceedings but once the weather cleared, the two Spaniards went in search of pole position on home soil.
The aforementioned shower looked at one stage to have handed pole to Cal Crutchlow after the Briton set provisional pole with 30 minutes to go. Crutchlow's 1:41.646s lap came moments before the rain started to fall and it appeared that he'd timed his run to perfection.
Sadly for Tech 3, the rain abated and Casey Stoner went 0.002s quicker but Lorenzo was going even faster and immediately demoted the World Champion to second. That was as good as it would get for Casey as he failed to find the level performance that his title rivals were finding. Crutchlow couldn't go with him either following a crash at turn one as he tried to regain pole position.
Pedrosa was the first man into the 1:40s, setting a 1:40.789 but Lorenzo beat him straight away, going a tenth quicker. Dani promptly lowered the benchmark once again but his compatriot continued to find an answer to hang on to provisional pole.
The pair were pushing each other to a level far higher than the rest could manage and with two minutes remaining, Pedrosa dropped into the 1:39s. Lorenzo couldn't match him initially but with seconds to go, clocked a 1:39.532 to finally see off the challenge of the Repsol Honda man.
Three different manufacturers will be represented on the front row thanks to the efforts of Nicky Hayden who qualified a sensational third. His teammate Valentino Rossi suffered humiliation on the second factory GP12 though. The Italian looked superb in the wet yesterday but his trouble in the dry continued. His best effort was a full two second down on Hayden, leaving him 13th and unthinkably, behind a CRT bike.
The second row will be led by Cal Crutchlow who managed a 1:40.570 on his second bike, enough to edge out Casey Stoner who will line up a disappointing fifth. Ben Spies, who was on the front row temporarily, slipped to sixth as the times tumbled late on. Andrea Dovizioso qualified the second Tech 3 Yamaha in seventh while the two satellite Hondas completed the top nine, Alvaro Bautista slightly quicker than Stefan Bradl.
The stand out performance came from Aspar's Randy de Puniet who finished the session in a sensational tenth, just 2.1s off pole and ahead of two satellite Ducatis, plus Rossi's factory machine. James Ellison avoided finishing bottom of the pile this time after outpacing Colin Edwards whose session was blighted by a crash. The Texan was actually in danger of finishing outside the 107% cut-off point but managed to squeeze in on his final lap.