Pol Espargaro enjoyed a Casey Stoner-sized advantage during Friday afternoon Moto2 practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

The Pons Kalex rider, who had been 0.5s ahead of Marc VDS Kalex competitor Scott Redding in the morning, improved in the afternoon session to sit 0.929s clear of Interwetten Suter's Thomas Luthi by the time a rain shower curtailed the slick tyre action with fifteen minutes to go.

Home star Anthony West followed up his Sepang podium with third place in FP2 for QMMF Speed Up and was the final rider within one-second of Espargaro.

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World Championship leader Marc Marquez failed to set a fast time in morning practice, led by title rival Pol Espargaro, due to technical problems that forced the #93 to repeatedly pull back into the pits during morning practice.

"We had an electrical issue this morning due to the crash in Malaysia, in which a connector broke. The bike would start, but in gear it would shake and then cut out," explained Marquez.

FP2 went much more smoothly, the Spaniard setting 13 laps on his way to fourth place, 1.125s behind Espargaro.

The Catalunya Caixa Suter rider holds a 48-point advantage over Espargaro and will be confirmed as champion if he leaves Phillip Island with a lead of at least 25.

Alex de Angelis, winner last year at Phillip Island and last weekend in Malaysia, was seventh quickest for Forward FTR.

Gino Rea, who joined de Angelis and West on the Sepang rostrum, was 19th quickest on his Gresini Suter and doubtless hoping that rain again plays a part on Sunday.

In terms of combined practice times, Espargaro held a 0.781s advantage over Redding a the end of day one, with Luthi, Mika Kallio and West the final riders within one-second.

Friday practice (2):

1. Pol Espargaro SPA (Kalex) 1m 34.578s
2. Thomas Luthi SWI (Suter) 1m 35.507s
3. Anthony West AUS (Speed Up) 1m 35.553s
4. Marc Marquez SPA (Suter) 1m 35.703s
5. Andrea Iannone ITA (Speed Up) 1m 35.769s
6. Randy Krummenacher SWI (Kalex) 1m 35.770s
7. Alex De Angelis RSM (FTR) 1m 35.833s
8. Scott Redding GBR (Kalex) 1m 35.862s
9. Takaaki Nakagami JPN (Kalex) 1m 35.963s
10. Johann Zarco FRA (MotoBI) 1m 35.986s
11. Julian Simon SPA (Suter) 1m 36.051s
12. Xavier Simeon BEL (Tech 3) 1m 36.089s
13. Dominique Aegerter SWI (Suter) 1m 36.177s
14. Simone Corsi ITA (FTR) 1m 36.349s
15. Bradley Smith GBR (Tech 3) 1m 36.498s
16. Esteve Rabat SPA (Kalex) 1m 36.585s
17. Mika Kallio FIN (Kalex) 1m 36.600s
18. Mike Di Meglio FRA (Kalex) 1m 36.790s
19. Gino Rea GBR (Suter) 1m 36.884s
20. Toni Elias SPA (Kalex) 1m 37.087s
21. Ricard Cardus SPA (AJR) 1m 37.100s
22. Ratthapark Wilairot THA (Suter) 1m 37.228s
23. Axel Pons SPA (Kalex) 1m 37.231s
24. Marcel Schrotter GER (Bimota) 1m 37.283s
25. Jordi Torres SPA (Suter) 1m 37.628s
26. Yuki Takahashi JPN (FTR) 1m 38.112s
27. Nicolas Terol SPA (Suter) 1m 38.157s
28. Marco Colandrea SWI (FTR) 1m 38.767s
29. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA (Speed Up) 1m 38.773s
30. Tomoyoshi Koyama JPN (Suter) 1m 39.706s
31. Elena Rosell SPA (Speed Up) 1m 40.811s
32. Eric Granado BRA (MotoBI) 1m 41.428s