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Pedrosa rockets to record Valencia pole
10 November 2012
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.
Rossi endured a miserable last ever qualifying session for Ducati, languishing at the lower end of the top ten throughout and eventually left just eleven on the grid, 2.033s behind Pedrosa.
The only manufacturer bike behind Rossi was the satellite Ducati of Karel Abraham, in 13th, with Espargaro's team-mate Randy de Puniet dividing the last two Desmosedici riders.
Colin Edwards enjoyed a better session with 14th on the grid for what could be Forward Racing's last event on the Suter BMW, with Michele Pirro 15th in his final ride on the Gresini CRT bike before taking on a Ducati test role.
Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies is missing his final Yamaha appearance due to recent shoulder surgery and has been replaced by test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga. Nakasuga qualified 16th out of the 22 riders.
Hiroshi Aoyama will start his first MotoGP race since 2011 from 21st place on the FTR-Kawasaki, with fellow Avintia rider Claudio Corti making his MotoGP debut from 22nd on the Inmotec-Kawasaki machine.
Despite Saturday's dry weather, forecasts predict a significant chance of rain on Sunday.
A new 'knockout' qualifying format, similar to F1 and WSBK, will be used by MotoGP from next season.
1. Dani Pedrosa
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Casey Stoner
4. Cal Crutchlow
5. Stefan Bradl
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Nicky Hayden
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Hector Barbera
10. Aleix Espargaro
11. Valentino Rossi
12. Randy De Puniet
13. Karel Abraham
14. Colin Edwards
15. Michele Pirro
16. Katsuyuki Nakasuga
17. Danilo Petrucci
18. Ivan Silva
19. Roberto Rolfo
20. James Ellison
21. Hiroshi Aoyama
22. Claudio Corti
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