Phillip Island MotoGP: Stoner Tops Friday Practice

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2012 Phillip Island MotoGP Friday Practice Results

Three weeks ago, Casey Stoner returned to the 2012 MotoGP Championship following a three-week hiatus due to an ankle injury sustained at Indy MotoGP.

The Repsol Honda returned during a hectic schedule of three back-to-back races. During his first race since returning at Motegi, Stoner finished fifth. The Australian then followed this up with third last week at Sepang.

Now the series is in the Australian’s country at Phillip Island for the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the series. Stoner has dominated at this track, winning the last five consecutive races there.

And the reigning champion quickly returned to his ruling ways at Phillip Island, the track where the third turn was renamed “Stoner’s Corner” this week. Stoner completed 16 laps in the first free practice session, posting a best of 1:30.374, nine-tenths of a second quicker than the current MotoGP points leader, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

As expected, the grid was quicker during the second free practice. And once again it was Stoner leading the charge, the RC213V rider the only to post under the 1:30 mark – a 1:29.999. Following 0.885 of a second behind was Stoner’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, the final rider to post within a second of Stoner.

Third quickest – 1.006 seconds behind Stoner – was Lorenzo. The Spaniard, who leads Pedrosa by 23 points, could possibly clinch his second premier-class title this weekend.

Casey Stoner
(Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “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 tires 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.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Hodna RC213V MotoGP) says: “Fortunately, today we’ve had two dry sessions which was not expected and that’s good at a circuit like this as the first day is important to find a good direction for the set up. I only tried the soft rear tire today, so tomorrow will be important to test the hard compound and some different ideas on the electronics and suspension to improve the feeling. Casey is going very fast here, as expected, so let’s see if it stays dry tomorrow and we can work on the pace and close the gap to Casey.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It’s been really tough so far today, the conditions are quite difficult. It’s been really windy which makes it very uncomfortable to ride. We are going to try and stay with Dani here and also Casey but he is very fast, he’s on another level at this track. I think we are close to Dani so our goal is to try and beat him. We’re going to try and make the bike more stable tomorrow to keep the wheels on the ground and make it more comfortable in the wind.”

Fourth quickest was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, who is overcoming flu-type symptoms since Malaysia. Next up was Crutchlow’s teammate, followed by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was seventh quickest, the final rider to post within two seconds of Stoner. Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi ended the day in eighth as top Desmosedici, although the Italian, who has won at this track five times in his career, will no doubt be looking for a lot more.

Rossi was followed by teammate Nicky Hayden, with Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet completing the top 10. The Frenchman not only finished as top CRT, but also beat the satellite Ducatis of Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá and Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham.

The only crasher was San Carlo’s Michele Pirro in the morning session, who initially produced an incredibly save from a big highside – only then to fall once he ran into the dirt. He was able to re-join the morning session for the final part. Yamaha’s Ben Spies is absent for the rest of the season as he recovers from surgery on his injured shoulder, MotoGP reports.

The grid returns Saturday for the third and final free practice ahead of qualifying.

2012 Phillip Island Free Practice 2 Results:

 

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
11Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda336.81’29.999
226Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda335.61’30.8840.885 / 0.885
399Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha335.31’31.0051.006 / 0.121
435Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha334.91’31.3671.368 / 0.362
54Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha334.51’31.4581.459 / 0.091
619Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda333.31’31.6161.617 / 0.158
76Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda337.11’31.7021.703 / 0.086
846Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati334.91’32.0302.031 / 0.328
969Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati332.71’32.6542.655 / 0.624
1014Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART322.41’32.6742.675 / 0.020
118Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati338.01’32.7062.707 / 0.032
1217Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati338.01’32.7442.745 / 0.038
135Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter320.91’33.8353.836 / 1.091
1451Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR316.11’34.0024.003 / 0.167
1541Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART317.71’34.4794.480 / 0.477
169Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter315.31’34.5314.532 / 0.052
1777James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART314.51’34.5614.562 / 0.030
1822Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR313.91’34.7464.747 / 0.185
1984Roberto ROLFOITASpeed MasterART312.11’34.7714.772 / 0.025
43Kris McLARENAUSAvintia BlusensBQR307.91’38.2038.204 / 3.432