Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo continued their strong form on the second day at the Circuito de Jerez ahead of tomorrow's Gran Premio de EspaÌ±a.
Squeezing everything out of their YZR-M1s at the partly cloudy Spanish track, Rossi and Lorenzo had a nail-bitingly tense duel for pole position this afternoon and took first and second respectively ahead of Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez for tomorrow's grid.
Rossi was one of the favourites to claim a spot on the front row after dropping the fastest time, a low 1'49s lap, in FP3 this morning.
As the last rider to take to the track at the start of QP2, he had clear tarmac in front of him and was quick to push out a strong time attack. His first flying lap of 1'39.761s gave him initial third place. Over his next few tries he improved his time to a 1'39.463s but he remained behind Marquez and Lorenzo in provisional third position as he headed into the pits with five and a half minutes remaining.
Less than a minute later the Doctor was back on his way and ready to step up his pace. Despite there only being a few minutes left of the session he was not rushed by the clock and calmly waited until after the flag had already come out to drop into the 1'38s with a 1'38.736 and take his first pole position since last year's Dutch Grand Prix in Assen. This impressive achievement puts him in joint first place with team-mate Lorenzo in the most pole position rankings, as they both hold 62 first place Grand Prix starts over all classes.
"We worked a lot because last year we struggled during qualifying," Rossi shared, "This year, with the Michelin tyres, I feel better and I already started on the front row two times, but pole position is something different, especially here in Jerez. I knew I could be competitive, but during the last races we had some problems and I made a mistake in Austin. We didn't take the results we expected, so we have to start doing so now. For sure tomorrow will be very hard with Lorenzo and Marquez, but we are there and we can fight."