Jorge Lorenzo kept his 2010 front-row record intact in Mugello this afternoon, qualifying in second place for the third race in a row. Dani Pedrosa took pole whilst Casey Stoner will line-up outside Fiat Yamaha rider Lorenzo.
Valentino Rossi will miss out on his home race after crashing in practice this morning and suffering a compound fracture of the lower right tibia.
Lorenzo looked effortlessly comfortable today, topping the time sheets in warm-up and for part of this afternoon's session.
The 23-year-old and his team had made some small modifications to his M1 and he was able to lap consistently faster than yesterday around the flowing curves of the Tuscan track.
In the final stages he looked on course for a first pole of the season but Pedrosa snatched it from him inside the last minute, leaving the Mallorcan 0.177 adrift.
While Lorenzo will be chasing his third win in a row when the lights go out at 2pm tomorrow, Rossi will be recovering from the surgery on his right tibia taking place this afternoon.
The reigning World Champion crashed in practice this morning and was taken to the CTO (Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico) in Florence to undergo an operation to fix the break.
Jorge Lorenzo (Position: 2nd Time: 1'48.996 Laps: 26) says: "Firstly I want to say how sad I am for Valentino. I know how bad it is to be injured, especially at your home race, and it looks very painful for him. I hope he recovers quickly because the championship will not be the same without him. Today we made some good steps forward and I am very happy about how my bike is feeling here in Mugello."
"I have a good race pace, the Bridgestone tyres feel good and I think I can make a fight tomorrow. We have to stay calm, focused and concentrated and hopefully it will be a good race for us here in Italy, at the home track for many of my team."
Wilco Zeelenberg (Team Manager) says: "We want to say how sorry we are for Valentino; everyone wants to beat him but only on the racetrack and all the riders and our team members are sad that he has so much pain and that he can't race. It was a good session for us, second seems to be ‘our' grid position at the moment and I think it's okay, less pressure than being on pole and it keeps Jorge sharp! Now is the time to keep focused and not make mistakes, we have a good race pace and now we will see what tomorrow brings. We didn't think about the weather but it seems it might be an issue, let's hope not."
The Doctor's Updates Here at UltimateMotorCyling.com
Stop back here for more updates and we wish Vale a very speedy recovery.
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1'48.819
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'48.996
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'49.432
4. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'49.546
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'49.683
6. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'49.737
7. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'49.861
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1'50.065
9. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 1'50.168
10. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 1'50.224
11. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'50.434
12. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'50.479
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 1'50.561
14. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'50.664
15. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 1'50.970
16. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'53.243