Stoner throws down the gauntlet in Australia first free practice

Friday, 26 October 2012

It was Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner who threw down the gauntlet in a dominant performance in the first free practice at Phillip Island for the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

Stoner did not show any signs of his ankle injury as he continued his reign over his home track, by lapping almost a second faster than any other rider with a 1.30’374. Some brief spot of rain had threatened the session briefly, however the main shower kept away and riders only missed out a 10min chunk of practice in the middle. The nearest challenger was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, who could clinch the world title this weekend, although he was a full nine tenths off Stoner. Behind him in third was his main title rival, Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa, who did well to save a big wobble early in the session.

In fourth spot, over a second and a half off the front was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, followed closely by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who will look to re-kindle some of the form he found in Japan two weeks ago. Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow ended the morning in sixth, despite suffering symptoms of flu. Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, an avid fan of this track, came in seventh as the highest placed Desmosedici, and does not look to be suffering any further with his right arm injury.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was the last man within two seconds of Stoner, as he finished ahead of Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who will be disappointed with his first run out on a track he has won at five times in the premier-class. Top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet in tenth. The only crasher was San Carlo’s Michele Pirro, who was able to re-join the session for the final part.

TAGS Australia

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