MUGELLO, Italy – MotoGP Championship leader Dani Pedrosa stole a last-minute pole to cap off a dramatic qualifying session Saturday at the Mugello Circuit.
The Repsol Honda Team rider will share the front row with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who overcame a neck injury for a front row slot.
Until the fourth practice Pedrosa had not been quickest so far this weekend, but shortly after Lorenzo had beaten his pole position record of 2012 Pedrosa was able to better it with a 1:47.157.
This left less than a tenth of a second between the top two, with Dovizioso cementing a front row position for the second consecutive race; this was notwithstanding the fact that the leading Italian was on painkillers after crashing on Friday.
The top eight riders all enjoyed a short time on the provisional front row, but a flurry of changes made for an action-packed Q2.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow will start fourth, still riding with a broken leg and despite and early crash in Q2. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl pipped Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez for the middle slot on the second row.
Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi – riding with a turtle-inspired helmet design – was disappointed to have plummeted to seventh at the last moment, heading up row three from Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.
Michele Pirro achieved the first top 10 qualifying result for the Ducati GP13 Lab bike, leading the fourth row from Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro.