Dani Pedrosa has taken pole position for the 2012 Italian Grand Prix after a fast and furious session saw him destroy the Mugello pole position record by almost a second.

The Repsol Honda rider was locked in a session-long duel with Jorge Lorenzo, who had dominated proceedings in the run up to qualifying. But the Yamaha rider abandoned his flying lap -opening the way for Pedrosa to come through for the top spot.

With Pedrosa lowering his best to an eventual 1min 47.284secs on his last revolution, Lorenzo felt ready to challenge that marker, but was forced to end his session in the pit-lane when an apparent 'electronic problem' cut-out the engine at the very final corner.

Prior to that, Lorenzo had looked on course for the top spot having held a comfortable advantage through the splits, though it is worth nothing that Pedrosa's very best effort would come after his countryman had called time on his session.

Despite this, Lorenzo - who came into qualifying having topped each of the three practice sessions - was still second fastest in a session that saw the top eight go below Casey Stoner's 2011 pole position-winning time of 1min 48.034secs.

Indeed, having already gone quicker than that marker in FP3, Lorenzo quickly made his intentions known with a 1min 47.834secs lap 20 minutes into the session, though Pedrosa ran him close.

What followed was a game of 'cat-and-mouse' as they attempted to out-perform one another with their best laps, a battle that was ended prematurely by Lorenzo's technical issues.

If the top two riders were predictable, then the rider that joins them on the front row was anything but, as Hector Barbera slotted into third position after an inspired effort on the Pramac Ducati.

Giving the faithful Ducatisti something to cheer about on home soil, while it wasn't hero Valentino Rossi doing the business for them up at the front of the grid, Barbera and Nicky Hayden's third and fourth places mark a welcome boost for the ailing manufacturer.

By contrast, Honda and Yamaha endured a mixed day, with Pedrosa's pole position juxtaposed by team-mate Casey Stoner's continued struggles to get the RC213V working around the Italian circuit.

The Australian spent much of the session outside the top ten, but while he would progress as the minutes counted down, he could only get as high as fifth at the chequered flag.

Still, he fared better than the remaining Yamaha contingent, which had been expected to follow Lorenzo's lead in challenging for front row positions after a strong start saw them lock-out four of the top five positions at the session's half-way point.

However, Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies would hamper their sessions with separate offs at Correntaio, the pair returning to the track in the final minutes to secure sixth and ninth respectively, while Andrea Dovizioso showed strong split times, but found himself bottled up behind James Ellison on his best lap as he was forced to settle for seventh.

LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl was the last of the riders to break the 1min 48secs barrier in eighth place, ahead of Spies, while Rossi couldn't get close to matching his Ducati counterparts at the head of the grid in tenth, the former champion almost a second slower than both Barbera and Hayden.

Alvaro Bautista will start 11th having barely deviated from that position all session, while Aleix Espargaro secured CRT honours when he leapfrogged Aspar team-mate Randy de Puniet with his final lap.

Qualifing:

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

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