Casey Stoner, winner from pole on his Repsol Honda debut in Qatar, will also start Sunday's Spanish MotoGP from the front despite being one of seven riders to fall at Jerez on Saturday afternoon.

Calling Stoner's incident as a 'fall' is actually a little exaggerated; the Australian ran-on at turn one on his last lap and then gently laid his RCV on its side in the gravel.

Either way it didn't matter as the 2007 world champion had already done enough to take pole by 0.158sec from team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

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Pedrosa's best lap was his last and allowed the Spaniard to jump ahead of countryman Jorge Lorenzo and snatch second on the grid by just 0.003sec.

Yamaha's reigning world champion and 2010 Jerez winner Lorenzo surprised by leading for over three-quarters of the one-hour session and was only 0.161sec from Stoner. The #1 finished between the Repsol Hondas in Qatar, after Pedrosa faded with arm numbness.

Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies was only ninth at the end of final practice, but put himself back on target for the podium fight - weather permitting - by grabbing a late fourth place, just before joining the crash list.

Starting alongside the former World Superbike champion will be Gresini Honda's Marco Simoncelli, while fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso rebounded from some tough practice sessions by sealing sixth on the third Repsol bike. The pair could be set to repeat their race-long Qatar battle.

The top Ducati rider on the grid will be Pramac's Randy de Puniet, in seventh, despite the Frenchman missing the last eight-minutes due to a crash.

The first of the qualifying fallers had been seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi, who lowsided from his factory Ducati after 13 minutes.

Rossi - seventh on his Ducati debut in Qatar - was soon back out on track, but was never a factor at the front and will start just 12th, nearly 1.5sec from Stoner.

Rossi had walked away unhurt from his fall, but Hiroshi Aoyama had a bigger scare. The Japanese lowsided just minutes after the #46, but hit his Gresini Honda as he tumbled and had to be carried from the gravel on a stretcher after hurting his leg.

Fortunately, Aoyama was soon back in the Gresini pits and returned to qualify in tenth position.

Rookie Karel Abraham was next in the gravel, followed by de Puniet, Spies, Colin Edwards and then Stoner.

Edwards will start alongside de Puniet in eighth with rookie Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team Cal Crutchlow just behind him in ninth, backing up an impressive seventh place this morning.

Nicky Hayden will start just in front of team-mate Rossi in eleventh, with another Desmosedici rider - Aspar's Hector Barbera - in 13th.

John Hopkins, taking part in his first MotoGP race weekend since 2008 as a replacement for the injured Alvaro Bautista at Rizla Suzuki, was as high as twelfth in the second half of the session before finishing up a creditable 14th and 1.553sec from Stoner.

Bautista was watching qualifying from the pits.

Starting behind Hopkins will be Loris Capirossi, Abraham and Toni Elias.

Qualifying:

1. Stoner
2. Pedrosa
3. Lorenzo
4. Spies
5. Simoncelli
6. Dovizioso
7. de Puniet
8. Edwards
9. Crutchlow
10. Aoyama
11. Hayden
12. Rossi
13. Barbera
14. Hopkins
15. Capirossi
16. Abraham
17. Elias