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Stoner dominates Down Under

Stoner dominates Down Under

Casey Stoner kept the rest of the field at bay once again on Friday at Phillip Island, leading the times from start to finish to close the first day of practice nearly three tenths of a second clear of Jorge Lorenzo, with Marco Simoncelli third.

The first day of the Iveco Grand Prix of Australia saw Casey Stoner lead both the morning and afternoon sessions to put his #27 Repsol Honda three tenths clear of Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) in the combined times. Stoner’s morning time of 1’30.475, just under a tenth faster than his FP2 pace, stood as the fastest lap of the day as the Australian joined the other one third of the field who did not improve upon their earlier times.

Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) stepped up his pace by four hundredths to slot himself ahead of Lorenzo in the afternoon despite a repeat of the morning’s misfortune of an early crash. The Italian was followed by Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) with a time of 1’31.495, an improvement of four tenths, though it wasn’t enough to knock Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) out of fourth, leaving Spies to rank fifth behind his compatriot in the combined times.

Sixth for the day was Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) thanks to his time he set in the morning, while team mate Dani Pedrosa ranked seventh with a lap of 1’31.543 set in the afternoon. Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) ranked eighth for the day, with Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) following the Japanese rider by 0.080s with his time set in the morning to rank ninth.

Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) took the tenth spot ahead of Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), while Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) lingered in 13th, a second and a half behind leading man Stoner.

Home rider Damien Cudlin, who is replacing an injured Héctor Barberá for the Mapfre Aspar team, paced one second behind Toni Elías on the LCR Honda in 16th.


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