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Pedrosa claims pole at Montmelo in record time

June 15, 2013 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
Championship leader Dani Pedrosa recorded the fastest lap ever at Montmelo in Spain.
Championship leader Dani Pedrosa recorded the fastest lap ever at Montmelo in Spain.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dani Pedrosa takes pole at Catalunya Grand Prix with fastest ever time at Montmelo
  • Pedrosa beat Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo by more than half a second in qualifying
  • Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi continues to struggle, finishing seventh

(CNN) -- Dani Pedrosa appears set to extend his lead in the MotoGP series standings after clocking the fastest ever time at Montmelo in qualifying for the Catalunya Grand Prix.

Pedrosa delighted his home fans by registering a time of one minute 40.893 seconds to claim pole position on a sweltering day near Barcelona.

He was more than half-a-second quicker in his Honda than Yamaha teammates Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo.

"It's difficult to do what I did especially when it is so hot," Pedrosa said.

He added later: "I have broken the record and I am very happy, although the objective was just to be on the front row. I had great feelings and I have gone out with a great lap."

Lorenzo, the reigning world champion and Pedrosa's fellow Spaniard, made up ground in the standings when he triumphed at Mugello in Italy earlier this month. Pedrosa's advantage shrunk to 12 points through five races.

Read: Lorenzo claims Mugello treble

Despite being overtaken by Lorenzo at the first corner and not able to reclaim the lead, Pedrosa said he was happy with second place in what had been a "difficult weekend."

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His sizzling time Saturday came midway in qualifying, while Lorenzo recorded his fastest time at the end of qualifying like Crutchlow.

He earlier had to switch bikes because of a clutch problem.

"We are on the first row, which is the most important thing for tomorrow," Lorenzo said. "We have to keep improving, but it will be a completely different race tomorrow.

"It will be very hot and we will run slower than our best lap today."

Rookie Marc Marquez, another Spaniard, endured more disappointment when he finished sixth in his Honda.

Read: Marquez makes history

He slipped to third in the standings after a crash-filled weekend at Mugello.

Valentino Rossi headed into Saturday in good spirits after leading the way in Friday's practice. But the seven-time world champion struggled in qualifying in his Yamaha, ending up more than a second behind Pedrosa in seventh.

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