Home Spanish star Dani Pedrosa
claimed the final pole position of the 2012 MotoGP
season, courtesy of a new fastest ever official lap at Valencia.
The 2012 title runner-up stunned onlookers by blasting 0.584s clear of Repsol Honda team-mate Casey Stoner
in the closing minutes, with newly crowned double world champion Jorge Lorenzo
later splitting the factory RCV riders.
Qualifying marked the first fully dry session of the weekend and the conditions, combined with the new track surface, had seen Lorenzo dip under the race lap record after just seven minutes of the hour.
The lack of dry time meant the majority of the session was dedicated to finding a race set-up - with Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Stoner leading the way as the halfway mark came and went - before attention switched to one-off laps on the edge of the last ten minutes.
The closing stages began with Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa covered by just 0.1s at the top of the timesheets, before Pedrosa suddenly pulled out his 1m 30.844s wonder lap - beating the previous 1m 31.002s pole record, set by Valentino Rossi
back in 2006, in the process.
Soon-to-retire double champion Stoner didn't improve on his last two MotoGP
qualifying laps, allowing Lorenzo to push the Australian to the outside of the front row with a final effort 0.384s behind Pedrosa.
Sunday's second row will be formed by Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3 Yamaha), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso
(Tech 3 Yamaha), who were all within one-second of Pedrosa.
Nicky Hayden led the Ducati challenge in seventh place, but 1.659s from the top, with Alvaro Bautista (Honda Gresini) and Hector Barbera (Pramac Ducati) joining the American on Sunday's third row.
Alexi Espargaro, on course to finish the year as the leading CRT rider, qualified tenth for Power Electronics Aspar at his home track - and ahead of Rossi.