MotoGP World Championship leader Casey Stoner took his fifth pole position of the season during a rain-interrupted qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

With odd spots of rain falling, riders attacked from the green light and a frantic first-half of the session ended with Stoner setting a new all-time Mugello MotoGP record of 1min 48.034sec on his Repsol Honda, before the rain intensified

That sent all 16-riders back to the pits and they only returned to do a practice start, on wet tyres, in the closing minutes.

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Stoner thus took pole by 0.445sec from last weekend's debut winner Ben Spies, with Gresini Honda wild-man Marco Simoncelli (+0.451sec) completing the front row for his home event.

Row two will be led by another Italian, Honda's Andrea Dovizioso, followed by Spies' Factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards.

The Texan's rookie team-mate Cal Crutchlow will head row three, in front of the returning Dani Pedrosa and the top Ducati of Nicky Hayden.

Hayden's team-mate and national legend Valentino Rossi will line-up just twelfth on the grid (+1.868sec) for a race he has won a record seven times in the premier-class.

The Doctor has been playing catch-up ever since technical problems in Friday morning practice.

As traditional for Saturday at the Italian GP, Rossi unveiled a special helmet design - with a large eyeball painted on top.

Pramac Ducati's Loris Capirossi is missing his home event after being injured in qualifying for last weekend's Assen round.

The Mugello circuit has been resurfaced for this weekend's event.

Qualifying:

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