MUGELLO - In-form Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa will start from pole in Sunday's Italian MotoGP after posting the fastest time in qualifying here on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Honda star - who won last Sunday's German MotoGP - will start ahead of series leader and compatriot Jorge Lorenzo, on a Yamaha, while another Spaniard, Hector Barbera, is third on the grid on a Ducati.

It is Pedrosa's 39th pole position of his career - the 21st in this category.

His Australian team-mate and defending world champion Casey Stoner, who crashed when set for at least second place on the last lap of the German MotoGP, was fifth fastest.

Pedrosa, who is second in the standings, battled it out with Lorenzo for most of the session but it was to end in disappointment for the latter when he had to come in early on the last lap.

"I had engine problems in the final corners and I had to stop," said Lorenzo, who leads Pedrosa by 26 points.

"We have to correct this problem before tomorrow."

Barbera achieved his best result in this category so far, outperforming the two official Ducati entries of Italian legend Valentino Rossi, who was only 10th fastest, and Nicky Hayden, who was fourth quickest.

Earlier, championship leader Jorge Lorenzo of Spain dominated practice on his Yamaha despite windy conditions during the first two sessions. Lorenzo, winner on the Mugello circuit last season, clocked a fastest lap of 1min 48.076sec, despite an early run-off into the gravel.

Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was second quickest on a Honda at 0.031sec behind Lorenzo with US Ducati rider Nicky Hayden third fastest at 0.081. "I'm really happy because from the beginning we've been quite fast. We haven't had to make many changes to the bike, the feeling is great with the track and it's working well," said Lorenzo.

"I feel good with the suspension, throttle and braking. Everything seems quite clear, we have to work on some small details but we've made an excellent beginning." Spanird Hector Barbera of Ducati came back after a crash mid-way through the session, which briefly saw practice red-flagged, to set the fourth fastest time.



1. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 1min 47.284sec, 2. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) at 0.139sec, 3. Hector Barbera (ESP/Ducati) 0.261, 4. Nicky Hayden (USA/Ducati) 0.387, 5. Casey Stoner (AUS/Honda) 0.405, 6. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Yamaha) 0.465, 7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Yamaha) 0.467, 8. Stefan Bradl (GER/Honda) 0.573, 9. Ben Spies (USA/Yamaha) 0.865, 10. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Ducati) 1.218, 11. Alvaro Bautista (ESP/Honda) 1.610, 12. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 2.103, 13. Randy de Puniet (FRA/Aprilia) 2.166, 14. Michele Pirro (ITA/FTR Honda) 2.979


1. Maverick Vinales (ESP/FTR Honda) 1mi 57.980sec, 2. Sandro Cortese (GER/KTM) at 0.421sec, 3. Alex Rins (ESP/Suter Honda) 0.841, 4. Efren Vazquez (ESP/FTR Honda) 0.860, 5. Danny Kent (GBR/KTM) 1.109, 6. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA/FTR Honda) 1.381, 7. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (MAS/KTM) 1.411, 8. Romano Fenati (ITA/FTR Honda) 1.485