Casey Stoner was absent from the racetrack in the closing stages of Saturday's wet qualifying session at the Sachsenring, but still claimed third on the grid.

A torrential rainstorm produced huge sections of standing water on the track and made for an accident-strewn session in which no fewer than nine riders crashed out, most spectacularly Stoner's team-mate Nicky Hayden.

Having battled a weakening physical condition at the last three rounds, and been left battered and bruised by a huge highside last time out at Laguna Seca, Stoner was in no mood to take unnecessary risks.

"That was a crazy session because of all the standing water on the track and the grip levels were minimal," said the Australian. "There were riders crashing all over the place so once we knew we had a decent lap time in the bag I decided to sit out the last few minutes of the session because the last thing I needed was a crash.

"I'm still feeling the effects of the qualifying crash at Laguna two weeks ago so to be honest the first thing I'm pleased about is to have stayed upright today, the second thing is to be on the front row!" he admitted.

Stoner starts round nine third in the championship, 16 points from Valentino Rossi and nine from Jorge Lorenzo - who qualified one-two for Fiat Yamaha on Saturday.

"I have to take my hat off to Rossi and Lorenzo today because whilst everybody else was sliding around all over the place those two looked like they were on rails," said the 2007 world champion.

"They are clearly the guys to beat again tomorrow in wet or dry conditions although to be honest I'd prefer it to be wet - at least that way I know I am physically fit enough to be strong to the end of the race!"


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