Cal Crutchlow stormed to his fifth front row start of the 2012 MotoGP world championship in Misano this afternoon.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider set a best time of 1.34.001 that had put him on top of the timesheets in the final two minutes of a qualifying session that took place on a full dry track after intermittent rain disrupted all three practice sessions.
Crutchlow, who scored his first MotoGP podium in Brno recently, finished behind dominant Spanish duo Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
It was Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa that secured pole position for the fourth time of the season. The in-form Spaniard set a best time of 1.33.857 to edge out title rival Lorenzo by just 0.018s.
Pedrosa has won the last two races to cut Lorenzo’s title advantage to 13-points heading into tomorrow’s 28-lap race.
German rookie Stefan Bradl must have thought his best time of 1.34.221 was going to secure him a maiden front row start when he led in the closing stages.
The LCR Honda rider finished just 0.220s behind Crutchlow to equal the fourth place on the grid he secured at Assen in late June.
Alvaro Bautista also headed the timesheets at one stage in an exciting session, with the field frantically working on set-up with slick tyres after the rain-disrupted practice.
The Gresini Honda rider secured fifth for his best grid position since he took a shock pole position in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Valentino Rossi completes the second row after he qualified in sixth using a new Ducati GP12 swingarm and chassis.
The Italian set a best time of 1.34.619 to finish 0.762s off Pedrosa but it is worth remembering he did complete a two-day test at Misano recently and had an advantage with his rivals missing vital set-up time this weekend because of the weather.
Ben Spies will start from eighth, though the Texan’s session was disrupted by yet another crash. The 2009 World Superbike champion crashed out at Turn 2 when he lost the front-end of his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 while in third position.
British rider Jonathan Rea delivered an impressive performance on board Casey Stoner’s factory Honda RC213V machine.
Despite only having one dry session to build up his experience and speed on the Repsol Honda machine he will ride in place of injured Stoner at Misano and Motorland Aragon, Rea will start from ninth on the grid after clocking a best lap of 1.35.358. That was only 1.501s behind Pedrosa and less than 0.5s behind Andrea Dovizioso in seventh.
James Ellison qualified the Paul Bird Motorsport Aprilia ART machine in 16th position after the Cumbrian set a best time of 1.37.124.