Dani Pedrosa came back from a high-speed fall in the middle of qualifying to grab a front-row spot, edging out Jorge Lorenzo by just a thousandth of a second, to start Sunday’s Australian MotoGP in P3.
“I had quite a big crash in qualifying. It was at high speed on the way into Turn Two so it’s a relief that I wasn’t injured,” said the Honda Repsol rider. “I’m not sure yet why I fell – I just touched the brake and boom – I was down.
Unfazed, the 24-year-old walked back to the paddock, took the spare bike and was quickly back into the rhythm that had seen him finish just 0.048s shy of the quickest pace in the morning’s wet practice session.
In the end, the Spaniard was reasonably pleased with a front-row place, but Casey Stoner, on a hat-trick at his home circuit, enjoyed his continuing return to form as he claimed pole position and championship leader Valentino Rossi lurks ominously in P2.
“I’m pleased to be on the front row because it’s always good to have a clear track ahead of you at the start of the race,” Pedrosa added. “If we can improve our pace then we will be trying to be as fast as we can, but we know it is going to be tough tomorrow. Casey will try to pull away and Valentino will try to follow him right from the start, so it is going to be hard.”
Although just 0.4s behind Pedrosa, team-mate Andrea Dovizioso ended up further back than he’d hoped (P10 behind Mika Kallio) in a packed midfield where just one second separated P3 from P13.
“I’m a little disappointed because we upped our pace, but not by enough and this means the grid position is not the best. On the plus side, we are only four tenths behind the third fastest time which is actually encouraging,” said the Italian. “Anyway tomorrow I will give 100 per cent to make a good start and recover as many positions as possible.”