MotoGP: One Last Qualifying for the King of Phillip Island

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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:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
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