PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia — Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner set a blistering pace as he stormed to his fifth successive pole position for the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island with an impressive performance during Saturday’s qualifying ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
Stoner did well to overcome an early crash to post a time in the mid 1.29s, which was over half a second ahead of second placed Jorge Lorenzo, who was pleased to get his Yamaha Factory Racing machine on the front row to challenge for the title Sunday.
Completing the row is Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who was a further four tenths back on Lorenzo, promising an exciting run into the first turn, as the Spanish duo competes for championship honors.
Row two is headed by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who once again showed no signs of the illness that has plagued him since Monday, putting in another terrific qualifying performance.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl lines up next to him in fifth, with the German Rookie finding his form at last, after some difficult preceding practice sessions.
Sixth place is occupied by Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso, with the Italian doing well to recover from his earlier crash in the morning session.
Heading row three in seventh place is San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who is the last man within two seconds of Stoner and will be hoping for an improved race pace to challenge for a podium.
In eighth, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi showed a slight improvement over his previous outings, and will be looking to challenge Bautista in the race tomorrow to steal fifth place in the championship. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet will line up ninth on the grid, after the Frenchman produced a stunning performance to record the best CRT grid position yet.
Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden completes the top 10.