Jorge Lorenzo won't be giving up his MotoGP World Championship lead without a fight, after taking pole position for his home Spanish Grand Prix.
The 21-year-old took the title lead by one point from team-mate Valentino Rossi with a landmark victory over the Italian in last Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.
But it wasn't Rossi that proved Lorenzo's nearest qualifying threat at Jerez - instead countryman Dani Pedrosa stepped up and got within 0.051sec of the #99 for Repsol Honda, while Qatar winner Casey Stoner - three points from Lorenzo heading into round three - was 0.482sec adrift in third for Ducati.
Rossi meanwhile will start from the head of row two, in fourth position, after lapping an unexpected 0.709sec from his fellow M1 rider.
“It's amazing to have the pole position here again, in my home country,” smiled Jorge, after his fifth MotoGP pole. “Riding at this track is extra special for a Spanish rider and I felt a great motivation today.
“Yesterday we had some problems and I was a bit worried but we have worked well in the team and today we managed to resolve everything so that I could ride my Yamaha just how I wanted to. I felt very comfortable and I hope that this will be the same for the race.
“We're starting in the best possible position; I know it will be hard tomorrow because everyone is close but I feel confident that we can fight to be on the podium again, as at the last two races. I hope it's a bit less windy tomorrow though!” he added
“We couldn't ask for more than this as far as a qualifying performance goes!” stated team manager Daniele Romagnoli. “The team did a great job to fix yesterday's problems and give Jorge a bike that enabled him to have a good pace for race conditions and also allowed him to be very, very fast for his flying laps this afternoon. It's going to be a close race tomorrow because the top riders are all fast but we are confident that we can make it a good one for us.”
Lorenzo also took pole at Jerez during his debut 2008 MotoGP season, but finished the race in third - behind race winner Pedrosa and runner-up Rossi.