Dan-tastic

Dani Pedrosa smashed the pole lap record to grab the top spot ahead of today's GAS British Motorcycle GP at Donington Park.

Dani Pedrosa smashed the pole lap record to grab the top spot ahead of today's GAS British Motorcycle GP at Donington Park.

The diminutive Spaniard set a searing time of 1:27.676 around the famous Derbyshire track in the blistering heat yesterday.

And the youngster beat the pole record of 1.27.879 set by Valentino Rossi in 2005, as the five-time world champion was left languishing in 12th spot.

Pedrosa, still in his first year in the premier class, brought his Repsol Honda over the line fastest with 13 minutes remaining of the one-hour qualifying session. And it was a time which could not be matched by any of his rivals.

"I found it very difficult out there - it is very hard work," he said.

"I am happy to be on pole position for the race, and I suspect it is going to be a very tough one. It is very hot here, and everyone has had to work very hard today and if the weather stays like this, it will be tough during the race."

Aussie Chris Vermeulen caused a stir when he set the second fastest time, giving him his highest start position since joining the GP circus this year.

The former World Supersport champion admitted he was as surprised as anyone. "It's great but quite a shock", he said. "It's going to be a very hard race. Everyone is struggling here, and we've got 30 laps - that's a long race."

Italy's Marco Melandri will line up third on the grid despite still nursing injuries from a nasty crash at Catalunya two weeks ago.

Rossi struggled through the pain of his broken hand after his crash at Assen last week. The Italian superstar put in plenty of laps, but couldn't find the pace of his rivals, and had to settle for 12th place.

Cumbria's James Ellison finished in 16th, as he gets to grips with the Tech 3 Yamaha, and will hope for better luck than last year when he crashed out in the wet.

"It has been a difficult weekend but I'm looking forward to the race," he said. "It is my home GP and I want to do as best as I can for the home fans."

Knaresborough's Dan Linfoot, onboard the Teng Tools Winona Racing bike, qualified 21st in the 250cc class, beating fellow Brit Chaz Davies, who will start 23rd.

"I'm really happy with my performance in qualifying and it looks good for the race," he said.

"Last year I finished ninth as a wildcard in the 125s, so I've got a lot to live up to."

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