Rossi on pole in Qatar
Valentino Rossi has taken the first pole of the 800 MotoGP era, by the smallest imaginable margin in Qatar.
Yamaha's Rossi snatched pole from Ducati's Casey Stoner in the closing stages of the qualifying session in the desert, eventually pipping the Aussie by a mere five thousandths of a second, the equivalent of half a wheel.
The closing stages of the session saw a flurry of faster times as riders had conserved their qualifying tyres until the last moments.
This is because of the new rules limiting the number of tyres able to be used at an event.
Colin Edwards put the second Fiat Yamaha on the front row in third,
0.023 adrift, and giving Toni Elias a helping tow to fourth place to make the Spaniard an unlikely top Honda after struggling throughout practice.
Dani Pedrosa is fifth, Suzuki's John Hopkins a sound sixth coming back from injury.
The TV cameras caught a lurid front wheel slide for the Rizla man early in the session.
Loris Capirossi heads the third row, struggling uncharacteristically on qualifiers and not even benefiting from a helping tow late in the session from team-mate Casey Stoner.
Loris is alongside Randy de Puniet who was pole man half way through, and Nicky Hayden in ninth, still experiencing front tyre feel issues.
Jeremy McWilliams crashed late on in the session and was taken to the medical centre. He had set 20th place.
We'll update his condition here shortly
1 Valentino Rossi 1.55.002
2 Casey Stoner 1.55.007
3 Colin Edwards 1.55.23
4 Toni Elias 1.55.35
5 Dani Pedrosa 1.55.36
6 John Hopkins 1.55.83
7 Loris Capirossi 1.55.85
8 Randy de Puniet 1.55.93
9 Nicky Hayden 1.56.04
10 Marco Melandri 1.56.22
11 Shinya Nakano 1.56.30
12 Carlos Checa 1.56.60
13 Chris Vermeulen 1.56.63
14 Olivier Jacque 1.56.75
15 Alex Barros 1.56.81
16 Sylvain Guintoli 1.57.25
17 Alex Hofmann 1.57.24
18 Kenny Roberts 1.57.49
19 Makoto Tamada 1.58.02
20 Jeremy McWilliams 1.59.60
21 Andrew Pitt 1.59.72