Championship leader Casey Stoner crushed the opposition for his eleventh pole of the MotoGP season, in front of his home fans at Phillip Island in Australia on Saturday.

Stoner, who will be seeking his fifth consecutive home victory and first in Repsol Honda colours on Sunday, had been fastest in all three free practice sessions and showed his true pace by sliding 0.829sec clear of the field with 15mins of the hour remaining.

From there the 2007 world champion was untouchable, making several small improvements to finish with a 0.473sec advantage over title rival and reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Stoner will be crowned champion for a second time if he can score ten points more than the Yamaha rider on Sunday.

Completing the front row will be San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli, who claimed his first top-three start since Mugello. The Italian has been fast all weekend, but will need to avoid the small falls that hampered him in practice if he is to claim his second MotoGP podium.

Surprise of the day went to Alvaro Bautista and Suzuki for fourth on the grid, by far Bautista's best ever start in MotoGP by no less than four places! And at a track that has traditionally been the worst on the calendar for the GSV-R.

Stoner's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, whom Bautista trailed for his fastest lap, will start fifth with 'Island lap record holder Nicky Hayden providing hope for Ducati with sixth place (+0.817sec).

Ben Spies, who suffered a fast lowside fall early in the session, will start at the head of row three in seventh for Yamaha, just ahead of a disappointed Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Colin Edwards, who was the top satellite bike rider for Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

Loris Capirossi, making his return from injury this weekend, held a shock sixth for the first half of the session and will start in tenth place for Pramac Ducati. Capirossi, who will retire at the end of this year, won on his Phillip Island debut back in 1990!

Team-mate Randy de Puniet was just 0.052sec slower with Simoncelli's team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama twelfth after a crash.

Valentino Rossi, whose record of five consecutive Phillip Island wins Stoner is aiming to match, languished down in 15th place as the session neared its conclusion, at which point he gained two places for a 13th place start (+2sec) for Ducati.

Starting behind him will be rookies Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB) - Abraham crashed at the end of the session - plus Toni Elias and wild-card Damian Cudlin.

Cudlin suffered a big highside at the Honda hairpin this morning and was a sore 6.6sec off the pace this afternoon.

Qualifying:

1. Stoner
2. Lorenzo
3. Simoncelli
4. Bautista
5. Dovizioso
6. Hayden
7. Spies
8. Pedrosa
9. Edwards
10. Capirossi
11. de Puniet
12. Aoyama
13. Rossi
14. Crutchlow
15. Abraham
16. Elias
17. Cudlin