Casey Stoner was glad to have avoided injury after a tumble on his way to pole position at Phillip Island. The world champion suffered a highside at the Honda hairpin but escaped with nothing more than a sore hip and recovered to beat Jorge Lorenzo by half a second. With tomorrow being his final farewell to his home supporters, Stoner is looking for nothing less than victory, injured or not.
“It’s been a good progression over these past few races and it’s great to get pole for my home grand prix. The bike has been good since Friday and I’m feeling comfortable on it again. It wasn’t an easy session this afternoon, we went out on a hard tyre and on my out lap, as I was peeling into the Honda turn, the bike decided to flip me. I tried to make sure I kept my leg out of the way as I came off, fortunately it didn’t get caught up. My left hip is hurting a little as I landed on it but hopefully we shouldn’t have any issues with it tomorrow. The bike feels pretty good for race pace, we would have liked to have done some more work in this afternoon’s session but we lost time after the crash. A big thanks to all the fans for coming out and putting up with this weather, hopefully we can turn this pole into a win tomorrow!”
Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa qualified third and crucially, behind title rival Lorenzo, and has echoed Jorge’s prediction that Stoner won’t be caught tomorrow. Should the Spanish pair finish on the podium, Pedrosa must beat Lorenzo to keep his title hopes alive and Dani expects them to be evenly matched in the race.
“I was trying some different things on the bike to get a little more comfortable, but they didn’t work out very well for the middle of the session. On my first soft rear tyre I couldn’t improve and then on my last run I was going quicker on the first lap and rain arrived. Anyway to be on the front row again is very good and I think we found a good bike setting for tomorrow’s race. Casey is unreachable, he’s on another level and doing an amazing job this weekend, but my pace is quite similar to Jorge’s, so I hope to be at least constant for the fight with him”.