Andrea Iannone came close to taking a shock debut MotoGP pole position during his final qualifying session for the Pramac Ducati team, at Valencia on Saturday.

The Italian, moving to the factory Ducati squad in 2015, held pole from the fifth to twelfth minute of the quarter-hour shootout.

Valentino Rossi then displaced the younger Italian, but Iannone fought back to regain pole - only to lose out by 0.132s to Rossi on the Yamaha rider's final lap.

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Making Iannone's performance all the more impressive was that he had bene forced to withdraw from the previous Sepang round due to arm injuries in practice.

"I'm really happy," said Iannone, who has taken five front row starts this year, aided by the softer rear tyre available to the Ducati and open class riders. "My arm improved a lot today. I've worked a lot with my physiotherapist and I had a better feeling on my bike.

"Vale was really strong today and did a really good last lap. I'm happy because I tried my best in my lap and pushed at 100 percent. I risked a bit at the last corner and I don't think it was possible to go faster."

Whilst Iannone is also confident that he can run a competitive pace on his harder of his rear tyre options, his physical strength remains a major questions mark ahead of the 30-lap race.

"My arms in the first six or seven laps are ok, but after that I don't know. Tomorrow will be a challenge for me, because I want to finish this season with a present for the Pramac team."

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa will join Rossi and Iannone on Sunday's front row.