Former MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo hit back at his critics by delivering a record pole position at Jerez on Saturday.

Lorenzo has failed to claim a podium in the opening three events, leaving him 29 points behind team-mate and title leader Valentino Rossi, winner of two races.

But he has been fastest in all but one session so far this weekend, dominating qualifying to claim his first pole since Misano with a new circuit record of 1m 37.910s.

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Injured reigning champion Marc Marquez was 0.390s slower, with Ducati's Andrea Iannone over half-a-second behind.

"A lot of people said that I had a crisis and I was down, it was one of my worst moments, but just two days later I rode this impressive lap time," said Lorenzo.

"That shows that in racing you can't say things like 'this guy is down, he's finished' because the next day he's going to be at the front.

"The opposite is true too, you can't say you're the best, because the next day you're at the back, so we have to be humble and work to take profit of the opportunities.

"I've got back my confidence. I've changed a little bit the way of riding and thinking on the bike and it worked very well. Also we arrived here without any physically problems. It's a combination of things and I feel great on the bike now.

"Setting the new pole position record is unbelievable. I rode many impressive lap times in my career, but this one is very special."

Lorenzo improved his pole time on each of his three qualifying runs and, like all his main rivals, is expected to race with the hard front and medium compound rear tyres.

"A 1'37.9 with these temperatures is very impressive and I am very satisfied. I didn't risk too much in acceleration because you can injure yourself if you crash in a highside, but I pushed a lot more in the braking and maximum lean and it worked.

"Marc will be strong tomorrow as always and the Ducatis too, but the race is going to be another story. However our pace is very good, I can stay in the 1m 39s easily and I feel very comfortable with the softer tyre when it's dropping.

"But let's see what happens in the race with more fuel in the tank and more pressure. If we don't make a good race we cannot say 'we came back'."

Lorenzo's performance has coincided with the news that he will remain at Yamaha in 2016.

"For sure it gives you the 'quiet' to ride better," he said of the deal. "But I never had too much pressure about the contract. I always try to forget about what is happening off the track.

"However Yamaha have supported me even when I wasn't winning and this was important in making the decision."

Lorenzo made his grand prix debut at Jerez in 2002 and has gone on to win four times at the circuit, including MotoGP victories in 2010 and 2011. However he managed only fourth last year after qualifying second.

Rossi starts from fifth position.