A brilliant late attack from Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa denied Ben Spies a stunning maiden MotoGP pole position at the Brno circuit this afternoon.
Just 40 seconds remained of the decisive qualifying session when Pedrosa overhauled Spies to claim his third pole position of the 2010 campaign.
Spies had looked on course for a brilliant career first pole position when he steered his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine to the top of the timesheets with just under five minutes remaining.
A lap of 1.56.846 put the reigning World Superbike champion at the top of the leaderboard by just 0.013s ahead of Spaniard Pedrosa.
Spies’ superb lap instigated a dramatic final five minutes with Pedrosa securing pole with a 1.56.508 in the dying moments. That was 0.338s ahead of Texan Spies, who was still able to celebrate his maiden front row start in MotoGP at the Czech Republic circuit.
World championship leader Jorge Lorenzo failed to extend his impressive run of qualifying performances as a late crash cost him a chance to push for a sixth successive pole position.
Lorenzo was looking to improve on his best time of 1.56.865 when he crashed out in the final three minutes. He walked away unhurt but his Fiat Yamaha YZR-M1 rolled several times through the gravel trap and finally came to a rest nestled on top of a perimeter tyre wall.
The Spaniard, who holds a commanding 72-point ahead of tomorrow’s race over Pedrosa, still qualified on the front row in third place. He has yet to qualify off the front row in 2010.
Former world champion Casey Stoner missed the front row by just 0.003s and he will start fourth. It is the first time he has failed to claim a front row berth since the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in June.
Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi was also another late crasher and the Italian will have to start from fifth spot on the grid.
He was looking to improve on a lap of 1.57.059 when he lost the front of his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine at the penultimate corner. He walked away unhurt but appeared angry with himself at the late blunder ahead of tomorrow’s 22-lap clash.
Nicky Hayden also fell heavily earlier in the session but he too was able to walk away unscathed to qualify his factory Ducati GP10 in eighth position.
Hector Barbera and Marco Simoncelli also crashed in a dramatic session ahead of round ten of the 2010 MotoGP world championship.
Factory Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista failed to start the session having suffered back injuries in a big crash during this morning’s second free practice session.