On the day of his 25th birthday, Casey Stoner took his third pole position of the season with the best time in qualifying for the Iveco Australian Grand Prix of 1:30.107 on Saturday.
On the day of his 25th birthday, Casey Stoner took his third pole position of the season with the best time in qualifying for the Iveco Australian Grand Prix of 1:30.107 on Saturday, securing top spot on the starting grid at Phillip Island for the third consecutive season.
The Australian, who has also won his home GP for the last three years, was an impressive 0.668s clear of the rest of the field by the end of the session.
With conditions changeable throughout the day, only the final few minutes of the MotoGP qualifier was lost to light rain, although some spots had fallen during the hour despite the bright sunshine around the coastal circuit.
Stoner admitted, “We have had virtually every single condition you could imagine thrown at us this weekend so we’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow before we make any decisions on set-up, but so far I think we have done the best possible job in every condition. We’re in the best possible position for tomorrow so I’m pretty happy so far.”
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) was the only rider able to get within a second of Stoner, as the Spaniard joined his rival under the 1:31 barrier. Lorenzo briefly led the session with his time of 1:30.775 but eventually had to settle for second on the grid.
Achieving his third front-row start of the season, Ben Spies set the third best time of the session, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider decided to call an early end to his practice after setting a lap 1.279s off the pole time of Stoner.
Hot on the heels of the American and registering a best qualification of the season to date was rookie Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), at just 16-thousandths of a second behind in fourth.
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was a similar distance (0.013s) further back in fifth, with Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) taking sixth position in the session despite crashing at turn four towards the end once the rain began to fall more heavily.
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) will head up the third row after setting the seventh fastest time, with Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) failing to overcome the issues he experienced in both free practice sessions and qualifying in eighth, which is his worst starting grid position of the season to date. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) completed the top ten.
The injured Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) qualified in 15th position despite only having just returned from Spain having undergone surgery on the collarbone he fractured in Japan.
However because of the pain, Pedrosa and his team decided that he will not race in tomorrow’s Grand Prix, preferring to rest up before the Portuguese event in two weeks’ time.
Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) both crashed during the session and qualified in 16th and 17th positions respectively. Both have suffered muscular injuries and will undergo fitness tests before the race.
Alex de Angelis’ first pole position of the 2010 season came at Phillip Island on Saturday as the JiR Moto2 rider topped qualifying with a final lap of 1:35.148.
That saw him finish the session 0.230s ahead of Scott Redding, who had led until the final moments.
The Marc VDS Racing Team rider came close once more to securing his first-ever pole but eventually ended in second position, with his best effort of 1:35.378 ensuring a fifth front-row start in six races.
Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) equalled his best qualification of the season by setting the third-best time, with Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aspar) getting onto the front row for the first time in 2010.
Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up) recovered from a fall with 15 minutes remaining to qualify in fifth position, with Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar), Michael Ranseder (Vector Kiefer Racing) and Raffaele De Rosa (Tech 3 Racing) also on row two.
2010 Champion Toni Elías (Gresini Racing Moto2) qualified in ninth, with Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing), local rider Wayne Maxwell (Matteoni Racing) and Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Racing) completing the top 12.
Race winner at the previous round in Malaysia, Roberto Rolfo (Italtrans STR) had a crash during the session and eventually qualified a disappointing 25th position.
Marc Márquez became the first rider to achieve 11 poles in a single season in the 125cc class when the 17 year-old, who leads the Championship by three points ahead of Nico Terol going into this round, topped the timesheet by an impressive 0.616s with a best lap of 1:38.236.
Following him onto the front row was team-mate Sandro Cortese, with the Avant Mitsubishi Ajo rider slotting in ahead of Pol Espargaró (Tuenti Racing), who was the final rider under the 1:39 barrier with a time of 1:38.991.
Bancaja Aspar rider Terol secured the fourth and final position on the front line and was also the final rider to get within a second of Márquez’s time.
Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar), who finished second in the 125cc race at Phillip Island last season, will head up the second row after qualifying in fifth, with Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX), Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing) and Tomoyoshi Koyama (Racing Team Germany) accompanying him.