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Stoner sweeps practice, takes pole

Stoner sweeps practice, takes pole

Casey Stoner's quest for a fifth consecutive home Australian MotoGP victory continued as the Repsol Honda man took pole position after leading all three practice sessions at Phillip Island. The Australian will be joined by Lorenzo and Simoncelli on the front row.

The 2007 World Champion appears set to repeat his performance of last year that saw the Australian lead all sessions, take pole and ride to the win by leading the field by a margin of 0.473s over second place pace setter, Yamaha Factory’s Jorge Lorenzo, with an incredibly fast lap of 1’29.975. If the soon to be 26 year old (he celebrates his 26th on Sunday), scores ten points over title defender Lorenzo, he can wrap up the 2011 title in front of his home crowd.

San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli landed on the front row for the first time since the Mugello round, with a best effort of 1’30.599, while Álvaro Bautista had his and Rizla Suzuki’s best qualifying of the season with fourth, following the Italian by 0.115s.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) joins Bautista on row two after posting a time of 1’30.780, as does Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), who had an early run off in the first 15 minutes, then regrouped enough to see himself as high as third on the leaderboard, finally settling in sixth with a time just 0.012s off Dovizioso’s.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) had an off track excursion followed by shortly by a heavy crash in turn 3. The Texan returned to the box, then quickly got back on track to jump immediately to seventh in a speedy recovery, a position he maintained with a time of 1’30.835.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) followed the Texan by 0.036s to place eighth on the grid, the Spaniard was the last rider to lap within a second of Stoner’s leading time. Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) posted ninth quickest, with Loris Capirossi completing the top ten on his Pramac Racing machine, while his team mate Randy De Puniet just missed out on the top ten by 0.052s.

Damian Cudlin did not run within the 107% qualifying time, the Australian replacement for Héctor Barberá on the Mapfre Aspar team was still sore from a morning crash, however he will be allowed to race on Sunday as he was fast enough during the practice sessions to get on grid.


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