BIRTHDAY BOY STONER ON POLE FOR HOME RACE, SOLID SECOND ROW FOR HAYDEN Casey Stoner celebrated his 25th birthday with the 25th pole position of his Grand Prix career today, putting himself at the front of the grid for his home race at Phillip ...
BIRTHDAY BOY STONER ON POLE FOR HOME RACE, SOLID SECOND ROW FOR HAYDEN
Casey Stoner celebrated his 25th birthday with the 25th pole position of his Grand Prix career today, putting himself at the front of the grid for his home race at Phillip Island. A day of typically mixed weather gave way to 58 minutes of sunshine for this afternoon's qualifying practice, with rain hitting the final two minutes of the session to thwart any attempt late improvements.
Nicky Hayden's opportunity to qualify on the front row had already passed, however, the American sitting out the final four minutes following a small crash in turn four when he was pushing for a faster lap. However, sixth place means a second row start for Hayden and a twin assault on the podium for the Ducati Team tomorrow, weather permitting.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Team) 1st - 1'30.107
"I always seem to celebrate my birthday here at Phillip Island but I guess there are worse places to be! We have had virtually every single condition you could imagine thrown at us this weekend so we'll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow before we make any decisions on set-up but so far I think we have done the best possible job in every condition. I'm quite happy with the setting in the wet even though we haven't had a fully wet session, which made it difficult to get a good reading from the bike. We have had two good sessions today, making progress in the last half an hour of this morning and another big step again in the last half hour of the afternoon. With the last two soft tyres I was able to make a substantial improvement to the lap time and we're in the best possible position for tomorrow so I'm pretty happy so far."
NICKY HAYDEN -- (Ducati Team) 6th -- 1'31.530
"We have had an okay weekend so far in all conditions. We tried a little something on the second bike this afternoon that didn't quite work so we went back to the first bike. My first run with a qualifying set-up on the soft tyre felt decent and I got a good lap time but I was quite confident I could improve. Then on my second run in turn four I got in hot and let the brake off over the little bumps there and the front closed. I saw a few drops of rain and maybe that didn't help. I had a couple of warnings but I kept pushing because I thought I could get on the front row. Anyway, the bike is working really well around here and we've tried every condition except hot and sunny so we'll see what we get tomorrow. Even though the track is very cold the tyres are working well and the soft compounds come in so quickly you think maybe even the hard could be an option. To be honest I think we'll stick with the soft but I have to say grip is good considering the temperatures are so low so we'll see how things shape up in the morning."