Alvaro Bautista took a shock first MotoGP pole position during qualifying for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Saturday.

The Spaniard, who switched to the satellite Honda Gresini team after spending two years at Suzuki, set his pole time with 19 minutes of the hour remaining.

Spots of rain then fell with ten minutes to go, confirming Gresini's first pole since the late Marco Simoncelli last season.

Boosted by a recent test, Bautista - the only Honda rider using Showa suspension - had been third fastest in Friday practice and fifth this morning.

Yamaha's Ben Spies overcame several off-track moments to qualify in second place (+0.106s), with Honda's reigning world champion Casey Stoner in third (+0.120s).

Title leader Jorge Lorenzo will line-up in fourth on his factory Yamaha, with Dani Pedrosa (Honda) and Hector Barbera (Ducati) completing an all-Spanish second row.

As feared, home hero Cal Crutchlow missed the session after being sent for hospital scans on the ankle he injured in this morning's final practice session.

A decision on whether Crutchlow will attempt to start Sunday's race, from the back of the grid, is yet to be made.

Ducati riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden escaped injury in almost identical high-speed falls during qualifying, both under hard braking for the final turn (named 'Vale').

Rossi fell early on, forcing a switch to his spare bike. Hayden tumbled just before the rain arrived while pushing for pole. Hayden starts seventh (+0.859s) and Rossi last of the manufacturer bikes in tenth (+2.113s).

Last year's Moto2 winner Stefan Bradl, who joined Crutchlow in the medical centre this morning after suffering a finger injury, returned to qualify his LCR Honda in ninth, just behind the sole remaining Tech 3 Yamaha of Andrea Dovizioso.

Aleix Espargaro got the better of Aspar team-mate Randy de Puniet to qualify as the leading CRT rider in eleventh, 2.980s from Bautista.

Cardion AB Ducati's Karel Abraham is unfit to ride this weekend due to finger fractures in his left hand sustained in testing at Aragon.

Silverstone is the first event where the new specification Bridgestone slick front tyre becomes the only construction available.

Lorenzo (3) and Stoner (2) are the only riders to win races so far this year and also the only riders to win at Silverstone since the circuit rejoined the MotoGP calendar in 2010.


1. Alvaro Bautista
2. Ben Spies
3. Casey Stoner
4. Jorge Lorenzo
5. Dani Pedrosa
6. Hector Barbera
7. Nicky Hayden
8. Andrea Dovizioso
9. Stefan Bradl
10. Valentino Rossi
11. Aleix Espargaro
12. Randy De Puniet
13. Yonny Hernandez
14. Michele Pirro
15. Colin Edwards
16. Mattia Pasini
17. James Ellison
18. Danilo Petrucci
19. Ivan Silva


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