Jorge Lorenzo took pole position for the MotoGP title-deciding Valencia Grand Prix, with Valentino Rossi crashing during qualifying despite the fact he will start from the back of the grid.
Lorenzo set a new lap record to dominate the session, overcoming the early challenge of Honda's Marc Marquez. He described it as the "best lap of his life".
Rossi was slowest in the Q2 session anyway, but will start from the back of the grid due to his penalty for the collision with Marquez in Sepang last time out.
The Italian crashed at Turn 2 right at the end of the session, and was unhurt after sliding into the gravel trap.
Story of the session
The crucial 15-minute qualifying began with Marquez setting the bar high on his first lap, a best-of-the-weekend-so-far 1m30.499s, with Rossi’s opening gambit a leisurely 1m32.840s.
Pedrosa made it a Honda 1-2 on 1m30.784s, which he lowered by 0.08s on his second lap, with Lorenzo third on 1m30.996s. Rossi improved to 0.972s off the pace, but was only ninth and shook his head as he climbed off.
Yamaha made a swing-arm change to one of his bikes during the session, and on his final run Rossi crashed while following Pedrosa into Turn 2.
Marquez failed to improve on his second run, so aborted the lap.
Lorenzo’s second effort was ultra-rapid, a lap record-breaking 1m30.011s, which eclipsed Marquez’s previous pole record from 2013.
Marquez tried again, but lost two tenths in the second sector and ended the session 0.488s slower.
Pedrosa will start on the outside of the front row, with Aleix Espargaro a surprise fourth for Suzuki, ahead of Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith, Andrea Iannone and Pol Espargaro.
Q1 thrills and spills
Maverick Vinales made it through to Q2 along with teammate Aleix Espargaro, despite the former suffering a big crash in Q1 at Turn 3, and was almost hit by Nicky Hayden at the following corner.
Hector Barbera had been in a position to go through for much of the session, but crashed near the end.
Valencia GP starting grid
|1||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha YZR-M1||1:30.011|
|2||Marc Marquez||Honda RC213V||1:30.499|
|3||Dani Pedrosa||Honda RC213V||1:30.516|
|4||Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki GSX-RR||1:30.917|
|5||Cal Crutchlow||Honda RC213V||1:30.948|
|6||Bradley Smith||Yamaha YZR-M1||1:31.012|
|7||Andrea Iannone||Ducati GP15||1:31.056|
|8||Pol Espargaro||Yamaha YZR-M1||1:31.080|
|9||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati GP15||1:31.245|
|10||Danilo Petrucci||Ducati GP14||1:31.292|
|11||Maverick Viñales||Suzuki GSX-RR||1:31.340|
|12||Michele Pirro||Ducati GP15||1:31.780|
|13||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia RS-GP||1:31.824|
|14||Hector Barbera||Ducati GP14||1:31.851|
|15||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||1:31.856|
|16||Nicky Hayden||Honda RC213V-RS||1:32.083|
|17||Yonny Hernandez||Ducati GP14||1:32.142|
|18||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia RS-GP||1:32.282|
|19||Scott Redding||Honda RC213V||1:32.448|
|21||Mike di Meglio||Ducati GP14||1:32.716|
|22||Anthony West||Honda RC213V-RS||1:33.049|
|23||Eugene Laverty||Honda RC213V-RS||1:33.066|
|24||Toni Elias||Yamaha Forward||1:33.092|
|26||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha YZR-M1||1:31.471|