If Casey Stoner can win Sunday's Australian MotoGP, it will mark his fourth home victory in a row and mean he has been unbeaten at Phillip Island throughout his Ducati career.

Stoner, moving to Honda next season, took the first step towards that achievement by securing pole on Saturday, which was his 25th birthday.

The double 2010 race winner lapped a threatening 0.668sec quicker than Yamaha's new world champion Jorge Lorenzo, and 1.2sec ahead of third fastest Ben Spies, after a session that effectively ended two minutes early due to the arrival of rain.

"I always seem to celebrate my birthday here at Phillip Island but I guess there are worse places to be!" said Stoner.

"We have had virtually every single condition you could imagine thrown at us this weekend so we'll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow before we make any decisions on set-up, but so far I think we have done the best possible job in every condition.

"I'm quite happy with the setting in the wet even though we haven't had a fully wet session, which made it difficult to get a good reading from the bike.

"We have had two good sessions today, making progress in the last half an hour of this morning and another big step again in the last half hour of the afternoon.

"With the last two soft tyres I was able to make a substantial improvement to the lap time and we're in the best possible position for tomorrow so I'm pretty happy so far."

Team-mate Nicky Hayden missed the final four minutes following a small crash in turn four. However, the rain reduced the potential damage to his grid position and he will line-up in sixth place.

"My first run with a qualifying set-up on the soft tyre felt decent and I got a good lap time but I was quite confident I could improve," said Hayden.

"Then on my second run in turn four I got in hot and let the brake off over the little bumps there and the front closed. I saw a few drops of rain and maybe that didn't help. I had a couple of warnings but I kept pushing because I thought I could get on the front row.

"Anyway, the bike is working really well around here and we've tried every condition except hot and sunny so we'll see what we get tomorrow. Even though the track is very cold the tyres are working well and the soft compounds come in so quickly you think maybe even the hard could be an option.

"To be honest I think we'll stick with the soft but I have to say grip is good considering the temperatures are so low so we'll see how things shape up in the morning."


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