Dani Pedrosa went fastest a thrilling qualifying session to take pole position for the Gran Premio bwin de España at Jerez, as his time of 1'39.202 led a MotoGP field in which the top ten riders were separated by less than 0.9s.
The Repsol Honda rider's 23rd of 25 laps on board his factory RC212V placed him at the head of the grid and sent the Spanish crowd into enthusiastic raptures, with the front row completed by fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) and Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner.
Fiat Yamaha's Lorenzo had led the session for a period but his best time was eventually 0.285s off the pace of Pedrosa, with Stoner a further two-hundredths down the timesheet as he secured third spot.
World Champion Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) will lead the second row, and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) bounced back from a big crash in Free Practice 2 to qualify in fifth position, just two-thousandths behind Rossi. LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet completed the second row, as the top six all finished within 0.4s of one another.