A late crash failed to prevent Valentino Rossi from ending Jorge Lorenzo’s early domination of the Czech Republic GP weekend when he stormed to his third straight pole position at the Brno circuit this afternoon.
Rossi secured his third pole position in the last four races with a best lap of 1.56.145 that the reigning world champion clocked with nine minutes of the session remaining.
It looked like he might lose pole when he lost the front-end of his Fiat Yamaha at Turn 5 with just three minutes of the session remaining.
The 30-year-old walked away unhurt, but Lorenzo failed to punish the Italian’s rare mistake and he failed to continue his practice domination, missing pole by just 0.050s.
The Spaniard clocked a best time of 1.56.195 before the halfway point in the session but couldn’t improve on that time in the final 30 minutes as he had to settle for second.
Dani Pedrosa completed the front row on the Repsol Honda RC212V as the 23-year-old posted a best time of 1.56.528.
That was 0.383s off Rossi’s best. Toni Elias might be out of a job with confirmation today that the Gresini Honda team will run Marco Simoncelli and Marco Melandri in 2010.
But the Spaniard put himself in the shop window with fourth place, a best lap of 1.56.817 just 0.289s away from Pedrosa.
Colin Edwards will start from fifth place on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 after he posted a best of 1.56.954. That edged out British GP winner Andrea Dovizioso in sixth place.
Nicky Hayden finished top Ducati qualifier today when he put his factory GP9 in eighth place on the grid. The American clocked a best time of 1.57.803 to finish 1.658s off Rossi’s best.
Mika Kallio’s promising start to his factory Ducati career came to a crashing halt in the final ten minutes of the session.
The Finn crashed heavily when he lost the front of the GP9 he will ride in place of Casey Stoner.
He ended up down in 10th place on the grid. James Toseland is facing a tough 22-lap race tomorrow after he ended up languishing down in 14th place on the grid.
The British rider could only manage a best time of 1.58.331 that was over two seconds off the fastest pace.