JEREZ, Spain (Reuters) - World champion and birthday boy Jorge Lorenzo will start from pole for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix and will be joined on the front row by compatriots Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez as the home nation dominated qualifying on Saturday.
Celebrating his 26th birthday, Yamaha rider Lorenzo, who was also fastest in Friday practice, set a best time of one minute 38.67 seconds at the sun-drenched Jerez circuit, with Pedrosa clocking 1:38.92 and Honda team mate Marquez 1:38.971.
Cal Crutchlow of Britain was fourth fastest on his Yamaha ahead of the third race of the season and the first in Europe with a time of 1:39.26 followed by Italian former world champion Valentino Rossi, also on a Yamaha, in 1:39.30.
Lorenzo’s job was made easier after Pedrosa, Marquez, Crutchlow and Rossi all suffered crashes during an incident-packed afternoon.
Lorenzo and rookie Marquez top the championship standings on 41 points after two races, with Pedrosa on 33, Rossi on 30 and Crutchlow on 24.
Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, editing by Ed Osmond