Dani Pedrosa claimed his third pole of the 2012 MotoGP season in a dramatic Indianapolis qualifying session that saw huge accidents for Casey Stoner, Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden.
Stoner's fall came early on, when the world champion was on provisional pole. He had a huge high-side on the way out of Turn 13 and was initially thought to have fractured his right ankle, although the diagnosis was amended to torn ligaments after x-rays were carried out. A red flag was required shortly afterwards to clear up some of the debris from the horrific crash, which saw both Stoner and his Honda tumbling violently through the gravel.
Yamaha rider Spies then replicated the incident, landing hard on his back. But Spies was able to get up and walk away, later rejoining to qualify fourth.
Hayden also fell in the same place and was briefly knocked unconscious. A second red flag was required as the Ducati rider was taken away in an ambulance. The American quickly regained conscious and escaped serious injury.
With final practice pacesetter Stoner sidelined, his Honda team-mate Pedrosa led the way for most of the hour, eventually setting a new qualifying record at 1m38.813s.
Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo qualified second - despite struggling all weekend so far. For a while it looked like the Yamaha rider might not even break into the top five, yet he ultimately got within a tenth of Pedrosa.
Andrea Dovizioso grabbed the final front row spot on his Tech 3 Yamaha, four places ahead of team-mate Cal Crutchlow.
Stefan Bradl completed the top five, with Stoner sixth in the order.
Valentino Rossi's tough season got worse still as he not only qualified way down in 11th place, but was beaten by top CRT rider Randy de Puniet's Aspar Aprilia.
- Casey Stoner
- Dani Pedrosa
- Ben Spies