'The right choices at the right time' helped Casey Stoner claim his 27th MotoGP pole, with a record-breaking lap, during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

The world championship leader's fifth pole of the year was decided well before the end of the session, when a rain shower descended on the track.

"After the two sessions yesterday and also in FP3 this morning, we weren't too happy with the set up we had, so we were looking to utilise all of this afternoon's session," explained the Repsol Honda rider. "However, we made some changes to my second bike, which I made my fastest lap on and we've come out with a fantastic bike.

"I'm really happy to get pole here especially on a used tyre, the start of qualifying didn't look too good, there was some rain and it was difficult to know how much to push so we went with soft tyres on front and rear to try and get a good lap time before the rain arrived.

"Once I was on track I realised the rain hadn't affected conditions so much, so I came back in and made a change on the second bike and went back out with a hard front which gave us a little more stability and we managed to go a lot faster.

"The way the surface is working and everything in general is perfect, even with difficult conditions, we made the right choices at the right time".

Stoner will start round eight with a 28 point lead over world championship Jorge Lorenzo, who qualified fifth. Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies will start second on the grid after lapping 0.445sec slower than Stoner.

Andrea Dovizioso put his Repsol machine at the head of row two, in fourth, for his home grand prix.

"I'm fairly satisfied with fourth position after the rain created strange track conditions, and I'm happy with our overall pace," he said. "Starting from the second row is fine on this track as there is a long straight before turn one. We made some modifications to improve my feeling with the front of the bike and as far as I could tell, they were positive.

"I wanted to do some laps with hard tyres in preparation for the race as on this track the tyre drops quite quickly, but it was not possible. The race will be long and physically demanding and it won't be easy to maintain the rhythm for all twenty three laps, but we are ready for this challenge and look forward to fighting for a good result. I'm confident tomorrow the Italian riders will put on a good show for the public here in Mugello!"

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa will start his first race since Le Mans from eighth on the grid.

"I was pretty lucky because the session was only 30 minutes old when the rain arrived and this is good for my injury," said Pedrosa, winner of last year's race from pole. "I made a few nice laps at the beginning of the session and I'm impressed with my lap time, eighth place on the grid is very good given my physical condition.

"I know that in the race it will be hard but I will try my best. I'll try the maximum during the 23 laps, 100% in my situation and we will see how much I can achieve. This morning I felt better because I had a good rest last night, but for sure lap by lap the shoulder is getting more and more sore and this afternoon it's been harder. I want to save energy during the warm up tomorrow morning to try to give the rest in the race".