By Stephen English
Casey Stoner will line up fifth on the grid for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after being unable to match the pace of Yamaha pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo and his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
The reigning world champion was unable to find his limit throughout the session and afterwards spoke about how difficult it was to ride the Repsol Honda at Jerez.
“We have quite a lot of work to do tonight to try and get the bike to work a bit better in the front,” commented the Australian, who saved a big moment on his RC213V just before the halfway stage. “The rear isn't too bad but for sure we could improve that.
“Front under brakes - entry and middle to corner - we are having a lot of chatter again and we're struggling to get the bike to turn in the longer corners.”
In a session dogged by the threat of rain and with damp patches throughout, Stoner felt that he “probably had half-a-second more in myself from just pushing a bit more, but we're still a good half-second off the pace that Dani and Jorge could achieve.”
Stoner, one of eight riders to feature on pole during the session, eventually qualified 1.045s from Lorenzo, winner of last year's race.
Australian Stoner starts Sunday's second round third in the championship.