Dani Pedrosa will start from pole position for the 11th round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship at Indianapolis after keeping it upright in an otherwise dramatic qualifying session that was dominated by big accidents for Casey Stoner, Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden

With the riders commenting on the slippery nature of the Indianapolis infield, which isn't used much outside of the MotoGP event, during Friday's practice session, their worst fears appeared to be realised in qualifying after a trio of spectacular accidents would eliminate Stoner, Spies and Hayden in and around turn 13.

Stoner was the first to succumb within ten minutes of the session getting underway, the pre-qualifying favourite being flung into a spectacular high-side on the exit of the left-hander and landing heavily on his feet. Stretchered off the circuit and transferred to the medical centre, Stoner has since been diagnosed with torn ligaments, an injury that puts him in doubt for both the Indy race and next weekend's Brno event.

Related Articles

With Stoner out of contention, the battle for pole position appeared to be brewing between his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa and local hero Ben Spies, the outgoing Yamaha rider coming into qualifying feeling confident after a strong showing in free practice.

However, the American's dismal run of luck appeared to strike again with 12 minutes remaining as he high-sided on the entrance of turn 13. Occurring on a lap that looked capable of putting him top of the timesheets, an embattled Spies would walk away unaided, though it initially seemed his pole position challenge had come to an abrupt halt.

Worse was the follow just four minutes later though when Hayden became the third rider to fall heavily between turn 13 and 14, the Ducati rider arguably suffering worst of all when he was knocked unconscious on impact with the ground. Though he regained consciousness fairly quickly, an evidently groggy Hayden has been taken to the medical centre for checks.

With carnage occurring around the riders, the fight for pole position almost took a back seat as a dwindling number of competitors battled it out for the front row.

With Hayden's accident prompting a red flag stoppage, the stage was set for an eight minute dash for pole position, but with Pedrosa returning to the circuit to improve the benchmark to a lap record breaking 1min 38.813s, it was the Spaniard who would hold on for his third pole position of the season.

As it happens, series leader Jorge Lorenzo would get close to his countryman after a big improvement over his free practice efforts, the Yamaha rider coming in just a tenth shy of his key title rival.

Though the pause allowed Spies the chance to get back out on track, he wasn't able to dislodge Andrea Dovizioso from the front row, the Italian recording his second top three qualifying result for Tech 3 Yamaha of the season.

Behind a frustrated Spies, LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl maintained his impressive practice form to sit in the middle of row two, ahead of Stoner, who was still a respectable sixth fastest despite only participating in eight minutes of the session.

Should he fail to take the grid come Sunday, Cal Crutchlow will progress from his qualifying effort of seventh place, while Hayden could also be missing from eighth, which would promote Alvaro Bautista from his current ninth.

Fresh from the announcement he will leave Ducati in favour of a return to Yamaha in 2013, Valentino Rossi's first qualifying session since the news proved inauspicious as he could only manage 11th best, notably a spot behind top CRT rider Randy de Puniet on the Aspar ART.

Behind the former champion, de Puniet's team-mate Aleix Espargaro is 12th, ahead of in-form Blusens Avintia rider Yonny Hernandez and Karel Abraham on the Ducati prototype.

Toni Elias, meanwhile, will start his second event on the Pramac Ducati in 17th position, while CRT wild-cards Steve Rapp and Aaron Yates will make the grid for the first time after getting to within Pedrosa's 107 per cent qualifying time.