Cal Crutchlow celebrated his new Monster Yamaha Tech 3 contract in superb style today to claim his fourth front row start of the 2012 MotoGP world championship in the Czech Republic.
The British rider, who signed a new one-year deal with the French-based Tech 3 squad this morning, claimed his best ever MotoGP grid position with second in today’s qualifying session at Brno.
Crutchlow bounced back from an early crash to post a best time of 1.55.995 to finish just 0.196s behind world championship leader and factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.
The Spaniard clinched his fourth pole of the season with a quickest lap of 1.55.799.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, who had dominated practice, could only finish third after he too suffered a crash in the early stages of a session run in much cooler conditions than yesterday’s hot and humid weather.
Pedrosa’s best lap of 1.56.327 put him over 0.5s behind title rival Lorenzo and the Spaniard was also 0.332s adrift of 26-year-old Crutchlow.
Ben Spies missed the front row by just 0.004s, with Crutchlow’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Andrea Dovizioso finishing fifth quickest.
Valentino Rossi completed the second row to claim his best qualifying result of the season in sixth. The nine-times world champion powered his factory Ducati GP12 to a best lap of 1.56.735 and he finished just 0.176s behind fellow Italian Dovizioso.
Rossi’s previous best qualifying in a nightmare 2012 was seventh in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans back in May.
British rider James Ellison will start the 22-lap race from 17th on the grid. The Paul Bird Motorsport ART rider set a best time of 2.00.316 to finish ahead of fellow CRT duo Ivan Silva and Danilo Petrucci.
* In the earlier Moto3 qualifying session, Maverick Vinales grabbed his fifth pole position of the campaign with a best time of 2.08.075. That put the Spaniard 0.033s clear of title rival Sandro Cortese.
The German set a best time of 2.08.108 as he looks to increase his 29-point lead in the championship over Vinales in tomorrow’s 19-lap race.
Malaysia rider Zulfhami Khairuddin completed the front row with a best lap of 2.08.504.
British rider Danny Kent will start from ninth position after the Red Bull KTM rider clocked a best pace of 2.09.307. That left him 1.232s off pole position.