Casey Stoner completely wiped the floor with the MotoGP field on Friday at Phillip Island, showing his intent to bid farewell to his home fans with victory. Stoner was almost a second clear of title challengers Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, suggesting that the two Spaniards may be going head-to-head over second place on Sunday.

The reigning champion got down to a 1:29.999 by the end of the day with Pedrosa the nearest competitor on a 1:30.884 but a closer look at the lap times puts Casey’s dominance into perspective. When the two sessions were combined, Stoner had actually completed thirteen separate laps, all of which were quicker than the best Pedrosa could manage.

Speaking after the day’s running, Stoner actually admitted that the ankle he injured at Indianapolis was in a worse state than when he returned and was delighted with his advantage over the competition.

“It was a very positive first day, we were pretty quick to get on the pace and to be honest I didn’t expect to achieve the lap times we did. With the extra horse power we have this year it’s a little easier to get around this place quickly! The times we were able to do in the first session were pretty good but I thought everybody would improve a lot more in the second session but we were able to go quite a lot faster than everybody with almost race distance on our soft tyres and then we put the hard tyre on and were able to improve again. This is very positive at this stage of the weekend but we’ll have to wait for tomorrow and Sunday to see where everyone else is. My ankle is in a lot worse condition than in Motegi but coming here, there are a lot less right hand corners, it’s nice to take a bit of weight off it”.

Jorge Lorenzo was almost exactly a second behind in third, but just a tenth behind Pedrosa with Cal Crutchlow finishing the day an impressive fourth despite suffering from bronchitis in the build-up to this event. Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso was fifth ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl on the satellite Hondas while Valentino Rossi led the way for Ducati in eighth.

James Ellison was the sixth quickest CRT rider, a class led by Randy de Puniet while Australian debutant Kris McLaren brought up the rear, substituting for the injured Yonny Hernandez at Blusens Avintia.


 2012 AirAsia Australian Grand Prix: Combined Friday Practice Classification
Pos Rider Bike Team Time/Gap
1  Casey Stoner Honda Repsol Honda Team 1:29.999
2  Dani Pedrosa Honda Repsol Honda Team +0.885
3  Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +1.006
4  Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.368
5  Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.459
6  Alvaro Bautista Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +1.617
7  Stefan Bradl Honda LCR Honda +1.703
8  Valentino Rossi Ducati Ducati Team +2.031
9  Nicky Hayden Ducati Ducati Team +2.313
10  Randy de Puniet ART Power Electronics Aspar Team +2.675
11  Hector Barbera Ducati Pramac Racing Team +2.707
12  Karel Abraham Ducati Cardion AB Motoracing +2.745
13  Aleix Espargaro ART Power Electronics Aspar Team +3.728
14  Colin Edwards Suter NGM Mobile Forward Racing +3.836
15  Michele Pirro FTR San Carlo Honda Gresini +4.003
16  Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter Came Ioda Racing Project +4.532
17  James Ellison ART Paul Bird Motorsports +4.562
18  Ivan Silva BQR Avintia Blusens +4.747
19  Roberto Rolfo ART Speed Master +4.772
20  Kris McLaren BQR Avintia Blusens +8.204