Dani Pedrosa will start tomorrow's Grand Prix of France from pole position (1'33.638) with team mate Casey Stoner in second place (1'33.941) after a stressful qualifying practice that was decided in the final minutes.
Rain affected the session at the Le Mans circuit, after three free practices in dry conditions, and choosing the right moment to make the time attack for the best grid position was key.
Dani holds the best pole position time in Le Mans from 2008 and also took the circuit record last year. This is his first pole of the 2012 season, and the first since Brno last year.
Casey, on top of the time sheets in all the free practice sessions, will line up next to Dani after finishing three tenths off the Spaniard in qualifying.
DANI PEDROSA 1st 1'33.638
"I'm not a pole man, so I'm happy to be here for the first time this season; front row is always good and the team has done a great job with the bike. It's been a difficult session, quite similar to Jerez, the track was drying up but we had some drops again in the last five minutes. So it's been key to choose the right moment to push and to not get out of the line. Let's see what the weather does tomorrow but we have to be ready to go fast in any conditions. The race is very long here, 28 laps, and everything can change during the race, so I hope to have a good start and to be able to keep a good pace until the end".
CASEY STONER 2nd 1'33.941
"We're really happy to be on front row, but qualifying definitely didn't go to plan. The track was drying out and we knew we had the pace, you just had to be a little cautious in some areas that were still holding water. We felt we were fast enough to be on pole position but every time I was on a good lap or building up to one, I got held up. I tried to drop back and give myself some space but I still managed to catch up to a CRT bike in front of me which ruined that lap. Then the next lap we were doing pretty well but I saw yellow flags and rain so I backed off, unfortunately the rain wasn't heavy enough to upset my lap and I could have continued it, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I think we're looking good for the race, we're pretty comfortable in dry conditions but we still have warm up and a chance for the others to find something extra, so we're going to have to improve our bike a little also and wait for the race as the weather conditions are still unpredictable".
|1||Dani Pedrosa||1'33.638||SPA||HONDA||Repsol Honda Team|
|2||Casey Stoner||1'33.941||AUS||HONDA||Repsol Honda Team|
|3||Andrea Dovizioso||1'33.976||ITA||YAMAHA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3|
|4||Jorge Lorenzo||1'34.104||SPA||YAMAHA||Yamaha Factory Racing Team|
|5||Cal Crutchlow||1'34.178||GBR||YAMAHA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3|
|6||Ben Spies||1'34.669||USA||YAMAHA||Yamaha Factory Racing Team|
|7||Valentino Rossi||1'34.907||ITA||DUCATI||Ducati Team|
|8||Alvaro Bautista||1'34.922||SPA||HONDA||San Carlo Honda Gresini|
|9||Hector Barbera||1'34.950||SPA||DUCATI||Pramac Racing|
|10||Karel Abraham||1'35.250||CZE||DUCATI||Cardion AB Motoracing|
|11||Nicky Hayden||1'35.291||USA||DUCATI||Ducati Team|
|12||Randy De Puniet||1'35.694||FRA||ART||Aspar Team MotoGP|
|13||Stefan Bradl||1'35.862||GER||HONDA||LCR Honda MotoGP|
|14||Michelle Pirro||1'36.646||ITA||HONDA||San Carlo Honda Gresini|
|16||James Ellison||1'37.666||GBR||ART||Paul Bird Racing|
|17||Aleix Espargaro||1'37.760||ESP||ART||Aspar Team MotoGP|
|18||Danilo Petrucci||1'37.767||ITA||IODA||Ioda Racing Project|
|20||Mattia Pasini||1'38.511||ITA||ART||Speed Master|
|21||Chris Vermeulen||1'38.658||AUS||SUTER||NGM Mobile Forward Racing|