Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo won his second pole of the MotoGP season on Saturday in the qualifying session for the Spain Grand Prix.
Lorenzo steered his Yamaha around the 4.42-kilometer (2.74-mile) Jerez Circuit in 1 minute, 38.673 seconds to claim his 27th career MotoGP pole on his 26th birthday.
“It was a difficult session,” Lorenzo said. “I made various mistakes and it was complicated, but I was finally able to get the pole position, which is a good birthday present.”
Dani Pedrosa was the second fastest, followed by his new Honda teammate Marc Marquez at less than three seconds off Lorenzo’s pace to complete the Spanish sweep of the top three spots.
Valentino Rossi and Pedrosa crashed with less than two minutes to go in the session but both men walked away. Marquez had also fallen in the morning practice session.
Rossi, who joined Lorenzo at Yamaha this offseason, will start from fifth on the grid behind Britain’s Cal Crutchlow.
Crutchlow had the session’s worst tumble when he lost control of his bike and was sent rolling off the track.
“I think tomorrow’s race will be a little calmer,” Lorenzo said. “I hope to have good pace. I will need to improve some things to get there.”
After two races, Lorenzo is tied on points with newcomer Marquez in the championship standings.
In the Moto2 category, Spain’s Esteve Rabat won the pole position, followed by Scott Redding of Britain and Takaaki Nakagami of Japan.
In Moto3, Alex Rins led another Spanish three-for-three. The 17-year-old Rins won pole ahead of Maverick Vinales and Luis Salom.