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MotoGP Australia: Untouchable Stoner blasts to pole

Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner got up from a slow-speed crash in today's MotoGP qualifying session to take pole position for tomorrow's Phillip Island race by half a second from Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo but a late rain shower prevented the Australian from going any faster.

The reigning world champion was the only man to get under the 1'30s barrier with a 1'29.623 - compared to the Yamaha man's 1'30.140 - but didn't get the opportunity for one final flying lap on the soft tyre to break into the 1'28s as the heavens opened.

He picked himself up from a cold-tyre highside at Honda with only ten minutes of the session gone. Stoner was pitched over the top of his RC213V when the rear came round on him under braking but he was back out within five minutes and immediately set a 1'29.892 before dropping to a 1'29.695 and then a 1'29.623 with eight minutes left.


Lorenzo, once again, had no answer to Stoner and neither did his team-mate Dani Pedrosa. The title challenger was nearly a second off the pace with his fastest lap of 1'30.575 while Cal Crutchlow, who is still ill, was breathing down his neck in fourth place on a 1'30.763.

LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl held off Andrea Dovizioso for fifth place and was the final rider in the 1'30s bracket. Monster Yamaha's Dovizioso set his fastest lap early on but is half a second behind the German rookie.

Alvaro Bautista, who hit a seagull in this morning's final free practice, just stayed ahead of Valentino Rossi seventh while Randy De Puniet stunned the CRT runners with his lap of 1'31.667 which was just 0.006s behind The Doctor. Nicky Hayden rounded out the top ten.

Aleix Espargaro was next CRT along with a 1'31.990 with Michele Pirro third. Colin Edwards finished in 16th with James Ellison one place further back.

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