Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow both led the timesheets during qualifying for the French MotoGP at Le Mans on Saturday.

Dovizioso set a provisional pole lap four times during the closing stages, but was in danger of seeing his hard work go to waste when he was sidelined for the crucial final five minutes.

Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa duly moved ahead of the Italian, but spots of rain in the final minute helped seal Dovizioso's first front row start since leaving Honda at the end of last year.

"I am really happy to be on the front row for the first time with Tech 3 and Yamaha," said Dovi. "We have done a great job all weekend. I have been fast in every session and even in the tricky conditions at the start of qualifying I was very competitive and strong and the times were coming really easily.

"I am particularly happy to be on the front row because a small problem meant I was not able to be on track for the final five minutes of the session. That is the period when you improve your time and it was a pity that I couldn't battle in the final stages because I'm sure I had a chance of getting pole position.

"So to be on the front row despite not riding in the last five minutes is fantastic and I am very confident for the race tomorrow. I'm sure I have the pace to stay at the front and I am very happy to be on the front in the Tech 3 Team's home race. I will do my best for Tech 3 and our main sponsor and event sponsor Monster."

Crutchlow set a provisional pole time twice in the early stages on his way to fifth on the grid, 0.540s from Pedrosa.

"I can't be disappointed to have qualified in fifth position but I think I could have challenged for pole position had things gone my way," said the Englishman. "I made a couple of small mistakes on my fast laps right at the end and that cost me a little bit of time. And we didn't have the best set-up with the bike.

"We made some modifications for qualifying but with the conditions wet and damp at the start, we couldn't tell if it was an improvement and in hindsight it would have been better to stay with the setting I ran this morning.

"We are not sure what is in store with the weather tomorrow but I am happy with the job we did today and once again we are very close to the front and I'm really looking forward to a good fight in the race.

"Andrea did a good job today and it is great to have both Tech 3 Yamaha riders competing for the front row. Hopefully we can both have a strong result for Tech 3 and Monster tomorrow."

Crutchlow (twice) and Dovizioso (once) have claimed fourth place at the previous three rounds.

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