What had looked like being a Dani Pedrosa dominated weekend suddenly came alive in the dying minutes in Motegi today, as Pedrosa and Poggiali duelled for 125cc pole in Pacific GP final qualifying.

Yesterday, Pedrosa set the pace by a considerable 0.6secs from rookie Andrea Dovizioso, with championship contender Manuel Poggiali off the front two rows and with plenty to do today if he is to stop third fastest Arnaud Vincent's charge to the crown.

Into the 30 minute session and it took until just eight minutes in before Pedrosa went another 0.257secs inside his provisional pole time - then a further 0.3secs on his next lap - to give him a massive 1.1secs lead over nearest challenger Dovizioso (who'd also improved his time) and the rest of the 37 rider field.

Minutes later Grand Prix new boy Dovizioso lost his overnight second when Vincent - who enjoys a 27 point lead in the championship - put in a 'flyer' that although by far his best of the weekend so far, was still a distant 0.685secs from the Telefonica machine.

Meanwhile, with the half way mark approaching Poggiali was still out of the top ten and yet to improve, but the reigning world champion showed his mettle and responded to Vincent's ever improving lap times, by moving first to third - then second - to split the Frenchman and the pace setting Pedrosa. The San Marinese might even have gone faster on his next lap - had he not hit a Motegi traffic jam.

Into the last 5mins and it was all action: First Nieto jumped up to the front row (0.8secs from pole), while Pedrosa set about destroying the field as he sliced the pole pace down further to give him a 0.833secs lead over the field - and a new lap record.

However, within seconds Vincent had the gap back down to 0.647secs, while Cecchinello popped up from nowhere to go fourth. Then the shock: Poggiali, who'd been miles off the pace all weekend suddenly shot back into second - just 0.143secs from pole - and a 2.3secs improvement over his yesterday's best! The fight was on...

Jenkner joined the fun by putting his UGT Aprilia into third, a little over half a second off pole, but now all attention was on what the #1 red Gilera could do on its last lap.

The first two sectors showed 'The Pog' as inside Pedrosa's pole time, but with the Spaniard also out on track and pushing it could go either way. As Poggiali approached the final sector he hit traffic and although a personal best lap, it would leave him 0.113secs away from the sharp end - but two places ahead of Vincent.

Pedrosa was left with one lap more than the others after juts crossing the line in time, but he didn't need it, the others had no laps left to challenge with and despite pushing hard Pedrosa was unable to beat his earlier best. He will therefore start from pole for tomorrow's Pacific Grand Prix and hope to make amends for his premature exit last time out in the Rio rain.

Full times to follow...

1. Pedrosa
2. Poggiali
3. Jenkner
4. Vincent
5. Dovizioso
6. Cecchinello
7. Nieto
8. Barbera



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