Dani Pedrosa secured his first MotoGP pole position of 2011 with a stunning effort in Czech Grand Prix qualifying at Brno.
The 25-year-old Spaniard, whose last pole came at Misano last year, produced a lap of 1m56.660s to knock Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha from the top spot and then improved his pace on his final lap to make things safe in 1m56.591s. It was the 18th pole of the Honda rider's career.
Try as Lorenzo did, he was consistently losing time to Pedrosa through the uphill final sector and had to be content with second place on the grid, 0.113sec behind his rival, but ahead of practice pacesetter Casey Stoner on the second factory Honda.
Ben Spies jumped up to second place with 15 minutes to go, but was knocked back to fourth by the end on the second Yamaha. Marco Simoncelli's Gresini Honda and Valentino Rossi's Ducati completed the second row ahead of Andrea Dovizioso's Honda.
Eighth spot went to Colin Edwards, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider outqualifying his American countryman Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Gresini Honda).
Cal Crutchlow had been eighth with 10 minutes remaining, but crashed his Tech 3 bike in the final sector and was swiftly followed down by Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Ducati) at the same corner a minute later.
Randy de Puniet was another crasher, and like Crutchlow and Abraham, the Pramac Ducati rider was unhurt. The trio fell to 11th, 17th and 15th while in among them, Toni Elias took a season's best 12th spot for the LCR Honda team.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m56.591s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m56.704s + 0.113s
3. Casey Stoner Honda 1m56.860s + 0.269s
4. Ben Spies Yamaha 1m57.178s + 0.587s
5. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m57.351s + 0.760s
6. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m57.367s + 0.776s
7. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m57.442s + 0.851s
8. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m57.676s + 1.085s
9. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m57.721s + 1.130s
10. Hiroshi Aoyama Gresini Honda 1m57.784s + 1.193s
11. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m57.797s + 1.206s
12. Toni Elias LCR Honda 1m58.245s + 1.654s
13. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m58.273s + 1.682s
14. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m58.274s + 1.683s
15. Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 1m58.889s + 2.298s
16. Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 1m58.938s + 2.347s
17. Karel Abraham Cardion AB Ducati 1m58.946s + 2.355s