Repsol Honda Team's Casey Stoner left no room for a surprise in today's qualifying practice at Phillip Island and will start his final Australian Grand Prix of his career from pole position.
The qualifying practice was a repetition of the previous four years: Stoner setting the pace and the rest of the field chasing the Australian, who has been unstoppable during the whole weekend. Despite a crash at Turn 4, on his out lap of his third run, Stoner didn't lose too much confidence and continued to improve his times to secure pole position with 1'29.623, his fifth of the 2012 season and fifth successive in Phillip Island.
The penultimate round of the season will see Dani Pedrosa starting from the front row for the eleventh race in a row. Pedrosa, with a best lap time of 1'30.575, found more feeling in the qualifying practice and was improving his pace on his last exit when the rain appeared, finally placing him 0.9 off Stoner.
"It's been a good progression over these past few races and it's great to get pole for my home grand prix. The bike has been good since Friday and I'm feeling comfortable on it again. It wasn't an easy session this afternoon, we went out on a hard tyre and on my out lap, as I was peeling into the Honda turn, the bike decided to flip me. I tried to make sure I kept my leg out of the way as I came off, fortunately it didn't get caught up. My left hip is hurting a little as I landed on it but hopefully we shouldn't have any issues with it tomorrow. The bike feels pretty good for race pace, we would have liked to have done some more work in this afternoon's session but we lost time after the crash. A big thanks to all the fans for coming out and putting up with this weather, hopefully we can turn this pole into a win tomorrow!”
"I was trying some different things on the bike to get a little more comfortable, but they didn't work out very well for the middle of the session. On my first soft rear tyre I couldn't improve and then on my last run I was going quicker on the first lap and rain arrived. Anyway to be on the front row again is very good and I think we found a good bike setting for tomorrow's race. Casey is unreachable, he's on another level and doing an amazing job this weekend, but my pace is quite similar to Jorge's, so I hope to be at least constant for the fight with him.”
Source: Repsol Honda