(CNN) -- Italian Valentino Rossi delighted his home crowds by claiming pole position for the San Marino MotoGP at Misano.
Rossi powers to pole in the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.
The eight-time world champion, who was born in nearby Tavullia and won the 2008 round on his local circuit, was fastest in every session of the weekend, but came under pressure in the final qualifying session.
Spain's Dani Pedrosa powered his Honda to the fastest time in the closing moments of the battle for pole, only for Rossi to turn on the style with his final lap.
His time of one minute 34.338 seconds gave him pole for the sixth time this season and 57th of his career, with Pedrosa claiming second spot just 0.222 seconds behind.
Rossi's Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo claimed third.
Lorenzo is second in this year's title race, 25 points behind Rossi, and is bidding to keep up the pressure on the Italian maestro."Tomorrow, physical form will count for a lot. Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to put on a soft tire but we'll be ready for the race," he told reporters.
Rossi, who saw his lead in the title race cut as he slid off in the U.S. round at Indianapolis which was won by Lorenzo, is desperate to pile on the points on Sunday.
"The race is tomorrow and I hope to see crowds in the stands at Misano," he said.
With former world champion Casey Stoner still sidelined with a mystery virus, Toni Elias of Spain on a Gresini Honda was fourth best ahead of American pair Colin Edwards and former world champon Nicky Hayden, who were fifth and sixth.