Dani Pedrosa edged out Jorge Lorenzo in the dying seconds to secure his first pole position of the 2013 season in Italy. The fifteen minute shootout for pole had been dominated by Lorenzo but the championship leader produced the fastest ever lap of Mugello to snatch pole from his compatriot by 0.069s.
Lorenzo was straight on the pace when Q2 got underway, jinking around the marshal holding the red flag at the pit exit such was his eagerness to get going. His first flying lap wasn’t too shabby either with a 1:47.621 half a second quicker than he’d been all weekend. Marc Marquez, who suffered a third crash in FP3 and had to book his Q2 place via the first session, was showing strong pace too despite his injury and slotted into second.
The home crowd were keeping an eye on Valentino Rossi to see if he could put his qualifying woes behind him and the Yamaha rider was competitive throughout, climbing up to third with a couple of minutes remaining but a series of late improvements wiped the smiles from several Italian faces. Cal Crutchlow was the first to push past him on the Tech 3 Yamaha although the Briton had to do so on his spare bike after crashing at Poggio Secco on lap two of the session.
Pedrosa was the next to move up, improving on his seventh place with a 1:47.157 which was quicker than the best Lorenzo could offer, despite a late improvement from the world champion who later admitted his surprise at being beaten to pole. Andrea Dovizioso did at least restore some pride for the home fans with third on the Ducati after pipping Crutchlow by 0.004s while Stefan Bradl sneaked into fifth ahead of the pain-stricken Marquez and a disappointed Rossi.
After sitting third three minutes from time, Nicky Hayden was demoted all the way down to eighth ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Michele Pirro with Bradley Smith eleventh after joining Marquez in the top two in Q1 and claiming the scalp of Aleix Espargaro later on.
Andrea Iannone was the prototype rider knocked out and will start thirteenth. The Italian rookie will be the sole Pramac Ducati rider on the grid tomorrow after Ben Spies pulled out this morning, still suffering from shoulder problems.