Casey Stoner - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Casey Stoner - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com


Casey Stoner
created all the headlines in first practice for this weekend's pivotal Australian Grand Prix, setting the fastest time before crashing moments later.

The home favourite, who could clinch his second world title this weekend, put the rest of the field on notice right from the start of FP1, clocking a 1:30.475 on his second flying lap, putting him over two seconds ahead of everyone else at that stage.

What followed was a surprise to everybody as the Repsol Honda man lost the front end of his RC212V exiting turn four. To the relief of his compatriots in the stands, Stoner was perfectly fine and re-joined the track later on, although he failed to improve.

This allowed Jorge Lorenzo, the only man who can deny Stoner the title, to get to within a quarter of a second of the pacesetter, setting a 1:30.744 in the dying seconds. The Yamaha no.1 made a relatively quiet start to the session but gradually gained speed as the session unfolded to finish within touch of his rival.

Marco Simoncelli was third quickest for San Carlo Gresini but he also had a crash during the morning session. The Italian suffered a low side, at the MG hairpin but like Stoner, returned to the track before the end.

Colin Edwards was an excellent fourth for Tech 3, outpacing the other two factory Hondas of Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa who finished fifth and sixth respectively. Nicky Hayden ended the morning as top Ducati in seventh ahead of Ben Spies, Hiroshi Aoyama and Loris Capirossi who finished an impressive tenth on his return from injury.

Valentino Rossi was 1.639s off the pace in 12th on the second GP11.1 Ducati while Damian Cudlin ensured that the Australian runners bookended the timesheets, setting the 17th fastest time for Mapfre Aspar.

 

Iveco Australian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Result

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Time/Gap
1 Casey Stoner AUS Honda Repsol Honda Team 1:30.475
2 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +0.269
3 Marco Simoncelli ITA Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +0.476
4 Colin Edwards USA Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.005
5 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Honda Repsol Honda Team +1.057
6 Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda Repsol Honda Team +1.096
7 Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Ducati Team +1.187
8 Ben Spies USA Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +1.349
9 Hiroshi Aoyama JAP Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +1.460
10 Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +1.577
11 Randy de Puniet FRA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +1.621
12 Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Ducati Team +1.639
13 Alvaro Bautista SPA Suzuki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP +1.918
14 Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +2.108
15 Karel Abraham CZE Ducati Cardion AB Motoracing +2.140
16 Toni Elias SPA Honda LCR Honda MotoGP +3.166
17 Damian Cudlin AUS Ducati Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP +3.646