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MOTOGP NEWS 

Australia MotoGP: Casey Stoner 'fortunate' to escape crash unhurt

Casey Stoner crashes at Phillip IslandCasey Stoner admitted that he was very fortunate to land safely when he crashed in qualifying for MotoGP's Australian Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion stormed to his first pole position since the Sachsenring in July in qualifying at home track Phillip Island, where he had been quickest in all three practice sessions.

Yet Stoner's fifth straight Australian GP pole came despite an early high-side at Honda corner.

Having returned for the final four races after surgery on the severe ankle injury he suffered at Indianapolis, Stoner always knew that a further crash might be horribly costly so was relieved he got away with Saturday's incident.

"It was on my out-lap with a hard tyre, and the thing just decided to flick me," he said.

"I was going very slowly into Honda and there was no way to stop it.

"I was very fortunate I didn't come down on my [injured] foot.

"If it had been the other way, it would've been a different story."

Stoner said the crash did not mar his enjoyment of his final home MotoGP weekend.

"To be honest it's been really nice to be back - not just back at this circuit, but feeling a little bit more comfortable," he said.

"Most of the critical corners are on the left side, so I'm actually able to relax on the right hand side turns, because they're not so critical, before putting more effort in on the left.

"It's been nice to ride one of these bikes around this track again. It could well be my last time and I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it really.

"We've had a fantastic weekend so far, just getting faster and faster."

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