Bautista breaks top-three's grip on MotoGP pole
updated 4:21 PM EDT, Sat June 16, 2012
Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista celebrates after securing pole position during Saturday's final qualifying session at Silverstone.
- Spanish motorcyclist Alvaro Bautista earns his first top-level pole position
- He will head the grid for Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone
- It is his team's first pole position since Marco Simoncelli a year ago
- He breaks stranglehold of sport's top three riders since Assen last June
(CNN) -- Alvaro Bautista will start a MotoGP race from first on the grid for the first time in his short top-level career after outshining motorcycling's big names in qualifying for Sunday's British Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old gave the San Carlo Honda Gresini team its first pole position since the late Marco Simoncelli topped the timesheets at Assen just over a year ago.
The Spaniard, whose best race finish is fifth since his debut in motorcycling's elite class in 2010, headed off Yamaha's American rider Ben Spies and Repsol Honda's world champion Casey Stoner at Silverstone on Saturday.
It is the first time since that Dutch race last June that pole has not been won by Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo or Dani Pedrosa
Honda's world champion Casey Stoner won 10 of the 17 completed races in MotoGP last season, including the finale in Valencia. He is hoping to retain his Qatar race title in Sunday's season opener.
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"I'm really happy for myself and also pleased for the team. This pole position hasn't happened by coincidence -- it is the fruit of a lot of hard work from all the guys who have all been giving 100% and sometimes a little more," Bautista.
"The conditions today were strange and difficult but we managed to find a good setting, I was up front for the whole session and set my fastest lap on my own.
"It started to rain for the last few minutes and nobody was able to improve their time but I still had a fresh tire to use and made a couple of mistakes on my best lap, so could have gone faster too. Tomorrow I start on pole and have a good race pace, so hopefully we can convert it into a good result."
Series leader Lorenzo will head the second row for Yamaha, almost half a second off Bautista's fastest time, with Honda's Pedrosa fourth and another Spaniard -- Hector Barbera on a Ducati -- setting the fifth quickest lap.
American rider Nicky Hayden was seventh fastest, with his seven-time world champion teammate Valentino Rossi back in 10th after another disappointing session.
Lorenzo, the 2010 world champion, leads Stoner by 20 points in the championship standings after winning three of five races so far this season -- including the last two in France and Catalunya.
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