Jorge Lorenzo put in a supremely dominant performance to claim pole position at Brno while Cal Crutchlow qualified higher than ever before to join him on the front row. A matter of hours after confirming his MotoGP status for 2013, the Briton showed the kind of form which encouraged Tech 3 to re-sign him by securing second on the grid, splitting the two title rivals.

Dani Pedrosa headed into the one-hour session as clear favourite for pole having topped all three practice sessions but the tables turned very quickly as Lorenzo set about his dominant run. The Yamaha rider blew the pole position record away within ten minutes of the session starting on a 1:56.144, way quicker than he’d gone in the morning.

The pressure shifted to Pedrosa and whether that affected him, only he will know, but the Repsol Honda was next seen on its side in the gravel trap. Dani had gone down at turn ten and crucially, the bike he had been blisteringly quick on all weekend was too damaged to continue, leaving him to trudge back to the spare bike in his garage.

While he was heading for his replacement motorbike, plenty was going on elsewhere as Randy de Puniet, Cal Crutchlow and Michele Pirro all had minor tumbles. Lorenzo coolly continued on his metronomic way with competitive lap times and with five minutes to go, broke into the 1:55s to pull out a half second lead on the rest.

Crutchlow, despite his crash, was second fastest ahead of his teammate Andrea Dovizioso and ensured he would remain the quicker of the Tech 3 teammates with a 1:55.995, confirming second place on the grid. Pedrosa later complained of chatter on his second bike but managed to salvage third with his very last lap, four thousandths of a second ahead of Ben Spies. Dovizioso was punted back to fifth while Valentino Rossi claimed a season’s best sixth for Ducati.

The satellite Hondas of Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista will line-up on the third row alongside Karel Abraham with the CRT leading Aspar teammates close behind, Randy de Puniet claiming the honours ahead of Aleix Espargaro.