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|
|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|