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
|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|