Dani Pedrosa took his first MotoGP pole of the season after measuring the drying track conditions to perfection at Le Mans on Saturday.
Wet at the start of the hour, the track was yielding the best lap times of the weekend by the closing stages. Pedrosa made his first and last appearance at the top with just two-minutes remanding.
The final minute saw an accident for Alvaro Bautista and spots of rain, helping keep Pedrosa on pole by 0.303s from Repsol Honda team-mate and title leader Casey Stoner.
Pedrosa, whose 2011 title hopes ended in a collision with the late Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans last year, will be chasing his first victory of this season on Sunday.
“I'm not a pole man, so I'm happy to be here for the first time this season; front row is always good and the team has done a great job with the bike,” said Pedrosa. “It's been a difficult session, quite similar to Jerez, the track was drying up but we had some drops again in the last five minutes.
“So it's been key to choose the right moment to push and to not get out of the line. Let's see what the weather does tomorrow but we have to be ready to go fast in any conditions.
“The race is very long here, 28 laps, and everything can change during the race, so I hope to have a good start and to be able to keep a good pace until the end".
Pedrosa starts the fourth round holding third place in the championship, 13 points from Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo and 14 from Stoner, who plans to retire at the end of this year.