Dani Pedrosa was pleased to secure his first front row start since Aragon in September as the Repsol Honda MotoGP rider qualified third quickest at Valencia - a venue that has proved a happy hunting ground for the Spaniard in the past.

Pedrosa, a six-time winner at the Spanish track, sealed the final front row place ahead of Valentino Rossi with a time of 1m 30.663s.

While his team-mate, Marc Marquez, is on the cusp of clinching the premier class crown on Sunday, Pedrosa is out of the title reckoning in a safe third place overall in the championship standings.

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"I am very happy with how qualifying went today, despite not having taken pole," he said.

"It was an interesting session for me, because I was able to find my pace again after various races in which I was off the front row.

"On the final two laps I was able to get a spot on the front row for tomorrow, and this is very important.

"It still wasn't quite enough to take pole position, but I'm happy with the work that we carried out and the step forward that we made," Pedrosa added.

"I hope to improve a little more tomorrow and have a good race."

Pedrosa insists there are no team orders, but would do Marquez a massive favour if he wins the race since the rookie would then only need a top eight finish to defeat Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo will start between the Repsol riders, in second place.