Jorge Lorenzo takes MotoGP pole in Qatar

Jorge Lorenzo (photo by MotoGP)An enthralling first qualifying session of the 2012 MotoGP™ season saw Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) take pole position for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar, as the Spanish rider beat reigning World Champion Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) to the fastest lap by 0.221s on Saturday evening.

Lorenzo's time of 1'54.634 gave him the edge over Stoner as the pair swapped the lead more than once in the final few minutes of the one-hour session, as the appetite was well and truly whetted for the first 1000cc race.

The battle for pole was not the only thing which caught the attention as Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) put in his best-ever MotoGP qualifying display to seal the final front-row spot with the third best lap. Crutchlow's time of 1'55.022 left him just 0.167s short of Stoner in second, and made it two Yamaha M1 machines on the front row.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) set the fourth-fastest time before a crash five minutes from the end of qualifying brought his session to a premature close, and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was the highest placing Desmosedici in fifth. Andrea Dovizioso will start his first race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team from the second row after going sixth fastest in QP.

Heading up the third row will be Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), who will be accompanied by Héctor Barberá (Pramac Racing) and rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda). Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) had a crash at the very end of the session but had already qualified in 10th place, and the Czech rider will have Álvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) for company on row four.

Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team) took the honour of qualifying as the fastest CRT machine in 13th, 0.831s behind Rossi, with Power Electronics Aspar duo Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró getting onto the fifth row with the American. The Frenchman escaped a crash 20 minutes from the end unharmed.

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