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Stoner heads warm-up at Phillip Island

Casey Stoner fastest in warm-up for the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.
Casey Stoner lapped fast enough for pole position as he completed a perfect sweep of the pre-race track sessions for his final home Australian MotoGP appearance.

The soon-to-retire Repsol Honda star has been the only rider to break the 1m 30s mark this weekend, which he again dipped into on his fourth lap of the warm-up, held in warmer conditions than yesterday morning.

That 1m 29.888s was just 0.265s behind his pole time, but the session was not without incident for the Australian. Stoner ran off track after saving a big slide at the apex of MG and later ran a little wide at Honda hairpin, where he fell in qualifying.

But others had far bigger moments: Ducati's Valentino Rossi falling at the MG corner earlier in the 20-minute session, then kicking away debris in frustration, with wild-card Kris McLaren and Cardion AB Ducati's Karel Abraham also walking away from spills.

World championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, whose 2011 season ended when he lost the part of a finger during last year's warm-up, safely negotiated this year's session.

The Yamaha rider, who has qualified second on the grid, again separated the factory RCV riders after lapping 0.447s slower than Stoner and 0.294s ahead of title rival Dani Pedrosa.

Lorenzo's only problem appeared to be another stall after the session, while practicing a start.

Stoner, whose 2012 title hopes were ended by ankle injuries, will be chasing a sixth successive home win today, in his penultimate race before retirement.

Meanwhile Lorenzo, who holds a 23-point lead, will be crowned MotoGP champion for a second time if he can gain at least three points more than Pedrosa.

Marching his fourth position on the grid was Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow, but half a second behind Pedrosa, with team-mate Andrea Dovizioso fifth and Honda LCR's Stefan Bradl sixth.

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lovard - Unregistered

October 28, 2012 2:25 AM

Getting within 107% of Stoners time was not going to be easy, but McLaren did easily get within 107% of everyone else's time. That ought to count for something when you're on a CRT.

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