While there was drama all around him, Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was his unflappable best in qualifying at Jerez today.
Lorenzo was out first in the final qualifying session and while the Spanish perfectionist saw flaws in his laps after the session, his lap times were nearly perfect.
Cal Crutchlow looked threatening for a top qualifying place, but after two crashes today, one in final practice and then another in qualifying he wasn't a factor for the front row. Crutchlow finished the session on bike but looked battered from the double spills.
Dani Pedrosa might have had the best shot of anyone--if anyone had one--of unseating Lorenzo, but the Honda rider lost the front in the final qualifying session and crashed mostly unhurt.
Biggest crash of the day award goes to Valentino Rossi. Rossi lost the bike in the final session in a very fast part of the track and while he tumbled away mostly unhurt the M1 did a dozen fast and ugly barrel rolls before it came to a halt battered and bent.
Nicky Hayden was fastest Ducati rider, with the bike showing it's still very much a bike with two brains at Jerez. If the front works, the rear won't. The rear of the bike doesn't track so much as it looks to be dragged along unwillingly at times.
Austin winner Marc Marquez was able to put the Honda on the front row but says winning tomorrow is next to impossible with Lorenzo on grid. He is trying for a consistent performance.
Dani Pedrosa started the session with an almost embarrassing incident when his Repsol machine slipped off its stand and his crew had to grab the bike before it flopped over on the shorter stature rider.
Andrea Iannone also crashed, and suffered punctures to his leg in the fall. Hector Barbera crashed as well.
Crutchlow was seen massaging his lower back on the cool off lap of the qualifying session. He had hit the ground fairly hard twice within an hour and that can't be painless.
Rossi waved to the crowd after his spill and the crowd roared.
LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl wasn't able to make the fast qualifying session with his factory RC213 and factory transmission. He was able to lap fastest in his slower session and make it into final qualifying.