The Ducati Marlboro rider will start Sunday's season-ending grand prix from second on the grid after former 250GP rival Dani Pedrosa outpaced the Australian by just 0.086 seconds.

Nevertheless, Stoner's 12th front-row start from 18 attempts gave him a new BMW M3 Coupe for being the fastest MotoGP rider during qualifying this season - his combined lap times being a comfortable 2.184secs quicker than nearest rival Valentino Rossi.

"It's nice to win the car - Adriana [wife] has already scored it!" smiled Stoner.

Stoner enters Sunday's season finale having won ten races this year and having led a remarkable 29 of the 43 practice, qualifying and warm-up sessions since the German and US GPs, where he led all five pre-race sessions at both events.

"I'm pretty happy again, we're on the front row and we've been concentrating on the race setting," said Casey. "I've probably got the record for the most second places in qualifying this year; again we missed out on pole by a few thousandths, it's been like that every time we've nearly been on pole this year. The race set-up is looking pretty good and we're quite happy with race distance on the tyres; like this morning we started out with eight laps already on the tyres and finished the session with the same set.

"But we are still trying to get slightly better lap times towards the end, just to make sure we are competitive at the end of the race. We just need to improve the traction a little bit, because the turning and everything else seems fine. And we've still got to decide what rear tyre to run, depending on what the weather does," he added.