Phillip Island MotoGP | Stoner Secures Pole

2012 Phillip Island MotoGP Qualifying Results

When the 19-rider MotoGP grid – short Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies and Avintia Blusens CRT’s Yonny Hernandez – arrived at Phillip Island for the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix this week, there was one immediate favorite.

This was Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner, the reigning MotoGP Champion who completely dominated at his home circuit during the last five consecutive years. This reign followed this weekend at all three free practices – Stoner leading each one by about a second – and qualifying.

During qualifying Saturday for the penultimate round, Stoner, who will retire at the conclusion of 2012 MotoGP, achieved his fifth consecutive pole, posting a 1:29.623 at Phillip Island.

Joining Stoner on the front row will be the current points leader, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard was 0.517 of a second behind Stoner. Taking the final third-row starting position was the man who trails Lorenzo by 23 points, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

During qualifying at the circuit where Turn 3 was renamed "Stoner’s Corner," Stoner crashed on turn four and was forced onto his second bike. But that didn’t stop him from achieving the fast lap time, which became a new fastest lap at Phillip Island.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: "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 tire 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!"

As for Lorenzo, he fell out of the top three at one point in qualifying, but earned second on the grid one a very used tire. Lorenzo will be looking to secure the title this weekend if he can keep his fellow countryman Pedrosa at bay.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Casey is really on another planet here, he’s riding so comfortably, sliding a lot and full throttle always so it’s very difficult to be with him. We are closer now though; in qualifying I made a really good lap with the soft tire.

"Second place is a good position to be in for tomorrow, it’s important to be just behind Casey into the first corner and to follow his wheel for at least two laps as fast as we can be. A big thank you to the team who worked hard to improve the bike for me for today.”

Pedrosa, who won the last three consecutive rounds, was 0.952 of a second slower than Lorenzo, and the final rider to post within a second of Stoner.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: "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 tire 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 [Stoner] 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."

Heading up row two is Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, who is showing no signs of the flu-like symptoms that plagued him since Malaysian. Joining Crutchlow on the second row will be LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and the other satellite Monster Tech 3 rider, Andrea Dovizioso, who recovered from a crash early in the hour-long session.

San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista is on top of the seventh row, the Spaniard the final man to post within two seconds of Stoner. He will be joined by Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi in eighth and Power Electronic Aspar CRT’s Randy de Puniet in ninth; this was the best qualifying position for a CRT so far in 2012.

Completing the top 10 was Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden. Avintia Blusens’ Australian substitute rider Kris McLaren did not make the 107% qualifying mark, but will have another chance in tomorrow’s warm-up to qualify for the race. He did well to walk away from a crash early in the session, MotoGP reports

2012 Phillip Island MotoGP Qualifying Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.6 1’29.623  
2. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 330.6 1’30.140 0.517 / 0.517
3. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.7 1’30.575 0.952 / 0.435
4. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 332.7 1’30.763 1.140 / 0.188
5. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 337.1 1’30.798 1.175 / 0.035
6. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 334.7 1’31.200 1.577 / 0.402
7. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 334.9 1’31.490 1.867 / 0.290
8. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 337.4 1’31.661 2.038 / 0.171
9. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 323.6 1’31.667 2.044 / 0.006
10. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 334.4 1’31.681 2.058 / 0.014
11. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 339.6 1’31.910 2.287 / 0.229
12. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 319.8 1’31.990 2.367 / 0.080
13. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 334.1 1’32.231 2.608 / 0.241
14. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 316.8 1’33.050 3.427 / 0.819
15. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 315.4 1’33.069 3.446 / 0.019
16. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 321.7 1’33.450 3.827 / 0.381
17. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 317.4 1’33.489 3.866 / 0.039
18. 84 Roberto ROLFO ITA Speed Master ART 314.0 1’33.577 3.954 / 0.088
19. 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 313.5 1’34.156 4.533 / 0.579
  43 Kris McLAREN AUS Avintia Blusens BQR 311.6 1’36.324 6.701 / 2.168