Jorge Lorenzo pipped Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow in a thrilling three-way fight for pole position at Aragon. The championship leader hit the front with a couple of minutes to go while his chief rival had all sorts of problems on his way to second on the grid.
Preparation couldn’t have been much worse for a dry qualifying session with all three practice sessions taking place in the wet and Dani Pedrosa only got two laps in before a heavy crash at turn twelve. The Repsol Honda machine was destroyed as it barrelled through the gravel trap and the Spaniard was placed firmly on his back foot. He wasn’t the only rider finding the going tough as Valentino Rossi lost the front end of his Ducati at turn two, causing him to follow Pedrosa back to the pits for a spare bike.
At the halfway mark, Cal Crutchlow held provisional pole, a tenth ahead of the recovering Pedrosa, but the British rider was determined to claim his first career pole position and extended his lead to over half a second fifteen minutes from time. Lorenzo did his best to respond but couldn’t get closer than four tenths on his first soft tyre run and instead it was Pedrosa who ended Crutchlow’s time at the top, putting in a 1:49.534.
Lorenzo was back out on his final set of tyres and with time running out, clocked a 1:49.404, to pip Pedrosa by eight hundredths of a second. Considering the problems he had earlier on, Dani may well have settled for a place on the front row while Crutchlow was left with an all-too-familiar feeling as the Spanish duo demoted him to third.
Ben Spies was just a third of a second off pole in fourth with Stefan Bradl and Andrea Dovizioso joining him on the second row. The performance of the day had to come from Jonathan Rea though who qualified a superb seventh, ahead of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden on the factory Ducatis. Hayden’s afternoon was capped off with a crash on his final lap, preventing him from challenging his teammate.
Hector Barbera completed the top ten ahead of the leading CRT rider Aleix Espargaro with both outqualifying Alvaro Bautista, the Gresini rider struggling to follow up his maiden podium finish two weeks ago.