MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi of Italy has set a qualifying lap record to earn the pole position for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix motorcycle race.

The Yamaha rider needed just 1:49.223 minutes to set the record on the 5.25-kilometer track Saturday.

Rossi edged Honda rider Sete Gibernau of Spain and fellow-Italian Max Biaggi in the hour-long qualifying session. Honda rider Nicky Hayden of the United States was fourth.

Rossi will be trying for his fourth win in five races this season, and his fourth straight triumph at Mugello, which is nestled in the Tuscan hills near Florence. The 26-year-old Italian enters Sunday's race with a 37-point lead in the championship standings over Honda's Marco Melandri of Italy, who was seventh in qualifying.

Spain's Jorge Lorenzo clinched the pole in the 250cc division, while standings leader Mika Kallio of Finland was the top qualifier in the 125cc class.

Some information for this report provided by AP.