Dani Pedrosa's Australian MotoGP weekend seemed to be going from bad to worse.

The Spaniard found out long-time crew chief Mike Leitner was leaving on Thursday, was only tenth quickest on Friday, missed out on a Qualifying 1 place on Saturday morning and then clashed with Karel Abraham at the start of Free Practice 4.

But the Repsol Honda rider turned it all around to qualify fifth on the grid later in the afternoon, with a lap just 0.267s behind team-mate Marc Marquez and pole position.

Related Articles

"It was a difficult day because I did not qualify directly for Q2," said Pedrosa. "I had many problems in the morning session, which also came up in the afternoon practice. However, in qualifying I took a big step forward.

"Unfortunately, as I had to go through Q1 I lost a tyre and in Q2 I could only use one. Nevertheless, my lap time was pretty good and, although I was bested by a few thousandths of a second, I could have placed very high up on the grid. Tomorrow we will try to fight our hardest in the race and get a good start, then concentrate on making each lap perfect."

Crash.net asked both Pedrosa and Abraham what had happened at the start of FP4, which saw Abraham fall after hitting Pedrosa's rear wheel - just moments after waving the Spanish rider past.

"He was in front for the whole lap in a normal pace and then he looked back and decided to pull over," said Pedrosa. "I just passed him and then also decided to pull over. I haven't spoken to him but maybe he decided to come back in behind me and [our lines] crossed. Afterwards I saw him in pit lane."

Cardion AB rider Abraham said: "It was a silly accident. I went out of the last right hander [MG] and then I made some space to let him go by. He overtook me and then went into the next corner so I thought, 'alright I'll follow'.

"Then I was surprised because he picked up his bike and started to brake really hard. At that moment I tried to miss him but it was too late to do anything. It was unfortunate. When we were in pit lane he showed me a hand, which I think meant sorry. Anyway it's just racing and silly things happen sometimes."

Pedrosa starts Sunday's race tied on points with Valentino Rossi for second in the world championship. Rossi qualified eighth with Abraham returning to take 16th on the grid.