Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa refused to allow an early crash during qualifying at Aragon to affect his rhythm as he pushed title favourite Jorge Lorenzo all the way in Spain.
Pedrosa, whose hopes of landing his maiden MotoGP crown suffered a crushing setback when he was taken out on the first lap at Misano at the previous round, lost the front of his RC213V at Turn 12 on his first run.
Undeterred, the diminutive Spaniard bounced back to qualify on the front row, just missing out on pole position by 0.088s as Lorenzo secured the top spot on his Factory Yamaha.
Pedrosa needs victories if he is to deny Lorenzo his second premier class crown and the Honda star is desperate to reign in front of the Spanish fans at Aragon tomorrow.
“At the beginning, I was cautious trying to set a decent lap time and towards the end I just forgot about everything and pushed harder for the front row,” said Pedrosa, celebrating his 27th birthday today.
“We have a good position for the start, I just hope everything goes smoothly and we can have a great race tomorrow in front of the home Spanish crowd.”
Reflecting on his slip-off today, Pedrosa said he was caught out by cold tyres.
“It's a very good result for us after all the issues we had. I'm really happy to be on the front row and so close to the pole position.
“After the crash I had at the beginning of the session - I guess due to cold tyres because I was not pushing at all - we only had one bike left with 50 minutes remaining,” said Pedrosa.
“I lost some time there and when I went out with the second bike I realised that I had to remain calm because it was the only bike I had for the rest of qualifying and also the only front tyre.”
Pedrosa is 38 points behind Lorenzo with five races to go.