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MotoGP Phillip Island: Stoner sets the pace as Rossi struggles

Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner has set the fastest lap in today's second MotoGP free practice sessions at Phillip Island with a 1'30.535 which was enough to keep Marco Simoncelli at bay while third-placed Jorge Lorenzo is more than half a second off the pace.

Stoner was quickest in both of today's sessions, going fractionally faster in the opener and getting to within 0.5s of Nicky Hayden's record lap set in 2008. The Aussie slid off in the first session at Honda Corner but was unhurt and then went back out to set the quickest time of the day with Lorenzo closer to Stoner in the opening outing.

Marlboro Ducati's Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, nipped from 15th to 13th with his last lap in the second period and is only 1.5s off the pace at the second fastest track on the calendar after Silverstone but is a tenth slower team-mate Nicky Hayden who is setting the top of Lukey Heights alight, steering from the rear before the plunge down into MG corner which has proved problematic for Simoncelli.


The Gresini Honda man lost the front into the left-hander this morning and then did the same but with the rear this afternoon. He was unhurt in both and his time of 1'30.912 kept Lorenzo behind him.

Ben Spies, the Spaniard's Factory Yamaha team-mate, steadily crept up the order to take fourth fastest with his 20th lap of 23 and is under a second off the pace while Dan Pedrosa put the second Repsol bike in fifth and is just 0.048s slower than the Texan.

Hiro Aoyama found nearly half a second from this morning to jump into sixth place, one ahead of Randy De Puniet who is currently being courted by LCR Honda after Andrea Dovizioso's decision to defect to Monster Yamaha for next season.

The aforementioned team's Colin Edwards was fourth in the earlier session but slipped down to ninth behind Alvaro Bautista on the Rizla Suzuki. Edwards lost three tenths over the lunchbreak but is still fourth quickest overall.

Dovizioso rounds out the top ten, just ahead of Hayden while Cal Crutchlow, on the second Monster Yamaha, is 12th and a place ahead of Rossi, the pair once again finding a similar pace as they have for several rounds this year.

Loris Capirossi, Karel Abraham and Toni Elias are the last of the regular riders while Aussie Damian Cudlin has swapped the Pramac Ducati he rode last time out for the Mapfre Desmosedici of Hector Barbera, who is injured after his Motegi crash.

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