Valentino Rossi claimed his 59th grand prix pole, a new record, by just 0.054sec over Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo at Le Mans on Saturday.
Unusually fine weather has allowed Rossi to get his M1 set-up for the stop-and-go track layout and the reigning seven time MotoGP champion, who starts Sunday's race just four points behind Lorenzo, has few complaints… except his shoulder.
Rossi sustained ligament damage in a motocross accident last month, but his predications of being fully fit for this weekend haven't materialised and he insists the weakened limb could become a factor in the second half of Sunday's race.
"This weather is really making me very happy, because for once in Le Mans we have been able to use all of the sessions properly and now here we are on pole,” said Rossi. “My setting is good, I feel comfortable on my M1 and Bridgestone tyres and my race pace is not bad either so everything is working out.
“I am still worried about my shoulder because sincerely today after ten or 15 laps I started to lose power, but I hope adrenaline will take over in the race and that I will be able to arrive fast right to the end,” he declared.
“Valentino's shoulder isn't 100% and we aren't sure how it will hold up under race distance but we've done the best we can do to put him in the right position so now we will just have to see how it goes,” said team manager Davide Brivio.
Rossi won the opening round of the year in Qatar and was a close third in Jerez, behind Lorenzo and Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who completes the Le Mans front row.