MotoGP World Championship Jorge Lorenzo has taken pole position for Sunday's German Grand Prix, despite forcing red-flags to be waved after a huge engine failure halfway through the session.

The Spaniard's Fiat Yamaha exploded in a ball of fire and smoke along the home straight, pouring oil onto the track in the process.

Ben Spies and Randy de Puniet were next along and went flying off the track at turn one after hitting the oil.

Spies, eleventh fastest at the time, walked away - but de Puniet, having been thrown off his bike, hit the American's Monster Yamaha as it lay in the gravel, breaking the front fairing off the bike with his leg.

de Puniet was carried away on a stretcher, but was soon brought back to the LCR pits on a scooter by team boss Lucio Cecchinello. Lorenzo then visited de Puniet while the track was being cleaned.

de Puniet, on the front row at the last three rounds, was too badly hurt to return to the track and decided to head for the medical centre for X-rays.

Initially news is that nothing has been broken and de Puniet should thus be able to start from seventh on the grid.

Lorenzo had been second behind Dani Pedrosa at the time of his engine failure, but Pedrosa didn't improve after the restart and was overcome by both Lorenzo and Ducati's Casey Stoner as a result.

Lorenzo took pole by just 0.024sec from Stoner, who was unintentionally held up by Colin Edwards at the end of his quick lap.

Returning early from a broken leg, Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi must have been especially grateful not to fall on the oil.

After a steady start to the session, Rossi was up to fourth by the time of the stoppage but, like Pedrosa, didn't improve after the restart and lost out to Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) as a result.

Completing the second row will be rookie Hector Barbera, who enjoyed his best session in the premier-class with sixth place for Paginas Amarillas Aspar.

Starting alongside de Puniet on row three will be San Carlo Honda's Gresini's Marco Simoncelli, with another rookie, Aleix Espargaro, ninth for Pramac Ducati. Marco Melandri completed a top ten covered by 1.1sec.

Spies slipped back from eleventh to 13th after his fall, and will start one place behind team-mate Edwards. The top Suzuki was Loris Capirossi in 14th.

As well as Rossi, Alex de Angelis also returns to MotoGP this weekend, in place of the injured Hiroshi Aoyama at Interwetten Honda.

The Sammarinese, who spent two seasons at Honda Gresini before being forced to join Moto2 this year, crashed towards the end of the session and will start 17th and last. de Angelis was 1.698sec from pole.

Qualifying:

1. Lorenzo
2. Stoner
3. Pedrosa
4. Dovizioso
5. Rossi
6. Barbera
7. de Puniet
8. Simoncelli
9. Espargaro
10. Melandri
11. Kallio
12. Edwards
13. Spies
14. Capirossi
15. Hayden
16. Bautista
17. de Angelis

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