Fausto Gresini dedicated Alvaro Batista's surprise British MotoGP pole position to his much-missed former rider Marco Simoncelli.

Rising star Simoncelli took two poles for Gresini last season, prior to losing his life in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Bautista's debut pole was the first really positive news for the Italian team since that tragic October day.

"This pole position was unexpected but it is wonderful and exciting," said Gresini. "It is only qualifying and the race is tomorrow but for us it is a source of satisfaction and confirmation that we are working well with Alvaro.

"I am happy for Honda, San Carlo, the guys in the team, Alvaro for his first pole in MotoGP and everybody who supports us and believes in us.

"It is a little over a year since Marco Simoncelli set pole for the first time at Catalunya and I want to dedicate this moment to him because it is nice to be able to smile again after so many sad days."

Bautista's first MotoGP pole was achieved with the help of a late rain shower, but comes after a set-up breakthrough at the post-Catalunya test and having been third and fifth in the dry practice sessions at Silverstone.

"I'm really happy for myself and also pleased for the team. This pole position hasn't happened by coincidence - it is the fruit of a lot of hard work from all the guys who have all been giving 100% and sometimes a little more," said Bautista, who switched from Suzuki to Gresini for his third MotoGP season.

"The conditions today were strange and difficult but we managed to find a good setting, I was up front for the whole session and set my fastest lap on my own."

Bautista, who has taken three sixth places this year, added that he also could have gone quicker without the rain.

"It started to rain for the last few minutes and nobody was able to improve their time, but I still had a fresh tyre to use and made a couple of mistakes on my best lap so could have gone faster too," said the former 125cc world champion, whose pole time came on the 15th of his 19 laps.

"Tomorrow I start on pole and have a good race pace so hopefully we can convert it into a good result."


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