Lorenzo storms to Brno pole
Brno, Czech Republic - World championship leader Jorge Lorenzo will start on pole for Sunday's Czech Republic MotoGP after finishing fastest in qualifying on Saturday.
The Yamaha rider clocked 1min 55.799 seconds for his fourth pole of the season, setting a new circuit record and leaving Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow 0.196 seconds behind in second place.
Spain's Dani Pedrosa, trailing Lorenzo by 18 points in the world championship, came in third 0.528 seconds behind after dominating all three free practices.
Lorenzo's Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies of the United States finished fourth in qualifying, ahead of two Italians -- Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) and Ducati star Valentino Rossi.
"We started in a very good way in the first practice but then we couldn't improve the bike, we tried everything and it was impossible," said Lorenzo.
"So we came back to last year's setting here, the first time I tried the 1 000 (cc), and from the beginning I felt much better," added the Spaniard who won in Brno in 2010 on his way to his world championship victory.
"I just enjoyed riding and improving the lap time. A very good feeling again, a very good pace and I think we are ready for tomorrow," said Lorenzo.
In second place, Crutchlow earned his best MotoGP qualifying result to date despite crashing midway through the session.
"It's a shame we had a stupid small crash. I managed to find probably the only bump on the whole circuit. My own fault," said the Englishman who has extended his contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team by another year.
"They made a great push for me last night and it's nice to be able to repay them straight away," he added.
Pedrosa only managed the third spot after dropping his bike early into the session.
"I tried to fix it but it was impossible. In the end I tried to get the best out of it and finally I was up front in the last lap. It's always important," Pedrosa said.
The Spaniard is all that is left of the Repsol Honda Team after Casey Stoner, defending world champion and last year's winner from Brno who is third in the overall standings, returned to Australia to undergo surgery on his broken ankle before the Brno event.
Stoner, who fractured his right ankle in qualifying for last weekend's Indianapolis Grand Prix but decided to race and finished fourth, also said the injury had left his title defence in his last season competing in tatters.
Spain's Maverick Vinales earned pole in the Moto3 category.
Results of qualifying on Saturday for Sunday's Czech motorcycling Grand Prix:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) 1min 55.799sec, 2. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Yamaha) at 0.196s, 3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 0.528, 4. Ben Spies (USA/Yamaha) 0.532, 5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Yamaha) 0.760, 6. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Ducati) 0.936, 7. Stefan Bradl (GER/Honda) 1.028, 8. Alvaro Bautista (ESP/Honda) 1.269, 9. Karel Abraham (CZE/Ducati) 1.974, 10. Randy de Puniet (FRA/ART) 2.045, 11. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/ART) 2.354, 12. Yonny Hernandez (COL/BQR) 3.288, 13. Toni Elias (ESP/Ducati) 3.321, 14. Michele Pirro (ITA/FTR) 3.588, 15. Colin Edwards (USA/Suter) 4.064, 16. Mattia Pasini (ITA/ART) 4.066, 17. James Ellison (GBR/ART) 4.517, 18. Ivan Silva (ESP/BQR) 4.530, 19. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/Ioda) 5.055
1. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Honda) 2min 08.075sec, 2. Sandro Cortese (GER/KTM) at 0.033, 3. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (MAL/KTM) 0.429, 4. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA/Honda) 0.585, 5. Luis Salom (ESP/KTM) 0.644, 6. Hector Faubel (ESP/KTM) 0.805, 7. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE/Honda) 0.944, 8. Alex Rins (ESP/Honda) 1.146, 9. Danny Kent (GBR/KTM) 1.232, 10. Jonas Folger (GER/KTM) 1.307