Stoner sets pace in front of record crowd at Island practice

Casey Stoner at Phillip Island (PIC: Ben O'Connor/Speedcafe.com)

Casey Stoner at Phillip Island (PIC: Ben O’Connor/Speedcafe.com)

A record Friday crowd at Phillip Island has watched Casey Stoner re-establish himself as the man to beat for this Sunday’s AirAsia Australian Grand Prix.

The Repsol Honda rider, still recovering from an ankle injury sustained two months ago, topped both Free Practice 1 and 2, setting his fastest time in the second session with a sub 1 minute 30 second lap – some eight tenths faster than his Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

Championship contender Pedrosa had improved steadily across the second session, but was no match for his home town team-mate, who topped his 12th consecutive MotoGP session in a row at the famous 4.4km Phillip Island track.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s report and results from Free Practice 1.

The Friday crowd topped out at an estimated 29,120 – the highest ever recorded attendance on a Friday at an Australian MotoGP.

Yamaha’s championship leader Jorge Lorenzo finished third, ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow.

In fifth place was Crutchlow’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, who had a solid day, but will have to find something extra if he is to take third spot in the championship off Stoner this weekend.

San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden and Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet completed the top 10.

While Stoner’s Island farewell is stealing the headlines, the second Australian in the field, Kris McLaren, finished both sessions at the tail of the field and will need to find some more pace to qualify for Sunday’s race.

The third and final MotoGP practice will be held at 1110 tomorrow, followed by qualifying at 1455.

Results, Free Practice 2, Phillip Island

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 336.8 1’29.999
2 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.6 1’30.884 0.885 / 0.885
3 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 335.3 1’31.005 1.006 / 0.121
4 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 334.9 1’31.367 1.368 / 0.362
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 334.5 1’31.458 1.459 / 0.091
6 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 333.3 1’31.616 1.617 / 0.158
7 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 337.1 1’31.702 1.703 / 0.086
8 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 334.9 1’32.030 2.031 / 0.328
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 332.7 1’32.654 2.655 / 0.624
10 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 322.4 1’32.674 2.675 / 0.020
11 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 338.0 1’32.706 2.707 / 0.032
12 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 338.0 1’32.744 2.745 / 0.038
13 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 320.9 1’33.835 3.836 / 1.091
14 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 316.1 1’34.002 4.003 / 0.167
15 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 317.7 1’34.479 4.480 / 0.477
16 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 315.3 1’34.531 4.532 / 0.052
17 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 314.5 1’34.561 4.562 / 0.030
18 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 313.9 1’34.746 4.747 / 0.185
19 84 Roberto ROLFO ITA Speed Master ART 312.1 1’34.771 4.772 / 0.025
43 Kris McLAREN AUS Avintia Blusens BQR 307.9 1’38.203 8.204 / 3.432

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