Casey Stoner rebounds to secure Phillip Island pole
Casey Stoner bounced back from an early crash to claim pole position for his final home race at the spectacular Phillip Island track in Australia earlier today.
After dominating all three practice sessions, Stoner suffered a small blip in his quest for a sixth successive home victory when he fell at Turn 4 with just over 20 minutes of qualifying completed.
He led by 0.230s at that stage with a lap of 1.30.518 but he launched a brilliant recovery to thrill a massive home crowd at Phillip Island.
Although he appeared to fall on his damaged right ankle when he lost the rear of his Repsol Honda RC213V at the tight Turn 4 left-hander, Stoner showed no sign that he’d aggravated the injury when he stormed to a 1.29.623 to secure his first pole position since the German round at the Sachsenring back in July.
Although it was highly unlikely that anybody was going to overhaul Stoner after a display of total dominance all weekend, a rain shower that fell with two minutes of the session remaining ensured he took his fifth pole position of an injury-hit campaign.
Jorge Lorenzo, who can wrap up his second world title in tomorrow’s 27-lap race, finished second with a best lap of 1.30.140 to finish 0.517s behind Stoner.
The only man who can deny him the title is compatriot Dani Pedrosa and the Repsol Honda rider completes the front row after he set a personal best of 1.30.575 to finish just under a second adrift of Stoner.
British rider Cal Crutchlow just missed out on a front row start by 0.188s after he set a best time of 1.30.763.
Joining the 26-year-old on the second row of the grid will be German Stefan Bradl and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
Valentino Rossi will start from eighth on the grid after he set a best pace of 1.31.661 that left the Italian 2.038s off Stoner’s pace.
The nine-times world champion was only 0.006s faster than flying Frenchman Randy de Puniet, who was in stunning form on the Aspar Aprilia ART machine to finish in ninth.
He logged a time of 1.31.667 and his result was the best grid position for a CRT machine in 2012.
British rider James Ellison will start the penultimate round of the championship from 17th after he posted a lap of 1.33.489.