Jorge Lorenzo put his Fiat Yamaha M1 on to the second spot on the grid in Jerez this afternoon, in an exceedingly close qualifying session which saw the first ten riders all within a second of one another.
His teammate Valentino Rossi will start from the front of the second row tomorrow, with Spaniard Dani Pedrosa heading the field for the 2pm race.
Lorenzo had looked in menacing form in the morning practice session, turning out laps in the low 1’39s with meticulous consistency.
This afternoon was much warmer however and the Mallorcan found he was a couple of tenths slower in the sweltering heat, as he battled to extend his run of four consecutive poles at this track. With twenty minutes left he moved to the top of the standings but his lead was short-lived as his Spanish rival Pedrosa took over soon after.
Lorenzo improved his time twice more but it was not enough to overhaul his compatriot and he eventually finished 0.285 seconds off pole position. The Yamaha man is feeling confident for tomorrow however and the Spanish fans have high hopes for an exciting battle between their two home favourites.
The World Champion found he was in much better shape today and in the end detained from taking any painkillers for his recovering shoulder. Instead he and his crew turned their attentions to improving the set-up of his M1, having lacked rear traction yesterday.
Rossi definitely looked much happier this afternoon and indeed led the standings for the first forty minutes of the session before surrendering the lead to his team-mate and then slipping down to as low as sixth at one point.
The Italian lost time on a fast penultimate lap when he had to pass another rider but his final push saw him improve significantly and haul himself up to fourth, just 0.047 off Stoner in third position.