In typical Phillip Island fashion, a range of weather was featured during qualifying for the Australian GP — though, it was mostly cold, cloudy, and windy. With spots of rain throughout the day, it was anyone’s guess when the weather would, could, or should arrive on the coastal track, which meant every minute of qualifying counted.
Unsurprisingly, Casey Stoner dominated the time sheets throughout Free Practice, and was heavily favorited for the pole-position for Sunday’s race. With the MotoGP Championship going down to the wire for Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, MotoGP fans were perhaps more concerned what was happening behind Stoner, despite this being his last home grand prix.
This doesn’t mean the session was business as usual for Stoner though, as the Repsol Honda rider found the gravel, after high-siding in Turn 4 of the Phillip Island Circuit. Limping away, Stoner was able to immediately rejoin the session, putting his best laps of the day in after the crash. The only man able to get into the 1’29 on his lap times, Stoner is still heavily favorited to win tomorrow’s Australian GP.
Coming into the pits to a series of high-fives, Jorge Lorenzo is taking his half a second behind Stoner as a win, especially since Championship rival Dani Pedrosa, in turn, is almost half a second behind him. If Lorenzo finishes ahead of Pedrosa tomorrow, he would clinch the 2012 MotoGP Championship. Conversely, if he makes a mistake, and ends up in the gravel though, he could hand Dani Pedrosa the opportunity for a title shootout in Valencia.
Notably off the pace were the Ducatis of Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Hector Barbera, and Karel Abraham, who found the CRT bikes of Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro mixing it up with them on the time sheets.
Only Rossi was able to get clear of RdP, while Barbera found himself the only prototype rider to be behind Espargaro’s Aspar Aprilia ART machine. A fast track, but not necessarily a horsepower track, we could see some prototype scalps hanging from the belts of the Aspar riders tomorrow.
Qualifying Results from the Australian GP at Phillip Island, Australia:
|1||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||335.6||1’29.623||–|
|2||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||330.6||1’30.140||0.517|
|3||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||335.7||1’30.575||0.952|
|4||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||332.7||1’30.763||1.140|
|5||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||337.1||1’30.798||1.175|
|6||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||334.7||1’31.200||1.577|
|7||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||334.9||1’31.490||1.867|
|8||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||337.4||1’31.661||2.038|
|9||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||323.6||1’31.667||2.044|
|10||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||334.4||1’31.681||2.058|
|11||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||339.6||1’31.910||2.287|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||319.8||1’31.990||2.367|
|13||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||334.1||1’32.231||2.608|
|14||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||316.8||1’33.050||3.427|
|15||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda-Suter||315.4||1’33.069||3.446|
|16||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||321.7||1’33.450||3.827|
|17||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||317.4||1’33.489||3.866|
|18||Roberto ROLFO||ITA||Speed Master||ART||314.0||1’33.577||3.954|
|19||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||313.5||1’34.156||4.533|
|DNQ||Kris McLAREN||AUS||Avintia Blusens||BQR||311.6||1’36.324||6.701|
Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved