The opening day of the Australian Grand Prix saw two very different free practice sessions at Phillip Island, with local star Casey Stoner fastest in a dry morning hour before Nicky Hayden set the pace during a soaking wet afternoon session.

Outgoing world champion Stoner, winner of last year's Australian Grand Prix, was 0.670secs quicker than newly crowned six time MotoGP title winner Valentino Rossi in FP1, but the pair - who have won 12 of the 15 races so far this season - were both left outside of the top three during the wet session.

Instead, it was Hayden who led the way, the Repsol Honda rider rising from the lower end of the top ten with 15 minutes remaining to knock his 2009 replacement Andrea Dovizioso from the top with just two minutes to go, then extending his advantage to a sizeable 0.755secs on his penultimate lap of the afternoon.

Hayden, one of many riders to enjoy the thrilling Phillip Island layout, was just eleventh fastest in the dry.

Dovi's second position gave Honda and Michelin a wet one-two, the Italian rookie having been fourth fastest this morning, while Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen used the slippery conditions to finish the afternoon one place ahead of Stoner and therefore as the top Australian.

Vermeulen, 14th this morning, was one second slower than Hayden and 0.761secs clear of Stoner.

Jorge Lorenzo, who surprised himself with third position in the wet Indianapolis Grand Prix, advanced from eighth in the dry to fifth in the wet - one place in front of team-mate Rossi.

Those that dropped sustainably backwards in the wet included Honda riders Alex de Angelis (third in the dry and eleventh in the wet), Randy de Puniet (fifth in the dry and 13th in the wet) and Shinya Nakano (seventh in the wet and 15th in the dry) - as well as Tech 3 Yamaha's James Toseland (tenth in the dry and 17th in the wet).

Moving abruptly in the other direction was newly announced 2009 Gresini Honda rider Toni Elias, who was 18th and last for Alice Ducati in the morning, but sprung up to ninth this afternoon.

Friday practice (combined):

1. Stoner
2. Rossi
3. de Angelis
4. Dovizioso
5. de Puniet
6. Pedrosa
7. Nakano
8. Lorenzo
9. Capirossi
10. Toseland
11. Hayden
12. Edwards
13. Guintoli
14. Vermeulen
15. Melandri
16. Hopkins
17. West
18. Elias



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