Australia MotoGP: Casey Stoner blitzes field in first practice

Casey Stoner began his bid for a sixth straight home MotoGP victory in ominous fashion by blitzing the field in first practice at Phillip Island

Australia MotoGP: Casey Stoner blitzes field in first practice

Yamaha's championship leader Jorge Lorenzo was the only rider able to get within one second of the Australian, while the session's two slowest riders were outside the 107 per cent mark.

The Australian, who admitted his injuries had worsened coming into his home track, wasted little time getting up to speed.

Within four laps he had got down to a 1m31.046s, which itself would have been good enough to seal top spot.

After Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa and then Lorenzo got close to that benchmark in the final 10 minutes however he shaved more than half a second off his previous best, ending with a 1m30.374s.

Lorenzo and Pedrosa were left trailing as a result, while the rest of the field were more than 1.5s in arrears.

Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso was fourth fastest ahead of Gresini's Andrea Bautista and team-mate Cal Crutchlow, struggling with bronchitis and fever this weekend.

Ducati's Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi then occupied seventh and ninth, sandwiching the LCR Honda of Stefan Bradl.

Rossi, like Stoner a five-time winner at the circuit, was 2.2s down on the overall pace.

Alongside a short shower around the halfway mark, which led to a temporary lull in proceedings, there were precious few incidents.

Pedrosa almost suffered a massive highside however, as Crutchlow - only yards ahead on the circuit - hit a wet patch with his knee, flicking up a spray which surprised Pedrosa and forced him to snatch at his bike, causing a wobble he was ultimately able to save.

The incident followed moments after Gresini's Michele Pirro, confirmed as Ducati's official test rider next year, suffered his own highside exiting Honda hairpin. He was able to hold on but veered off track and went down in the grass.

Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Casey Stoner Honda 1m30.374s 2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m31.279s + 0.905s 3. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m31.533s + 1.159s 4. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha 1m31.968s + 1.594s 5. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m32.039s + 1.665s 6. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m32.199s + 1.825s 7. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m32.312s + 1.938s 8. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m32.356s + 1.982s 9. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m32.655s + 2.281s 10. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m33.266s + 2.892s 11. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m33.376s + 3.002s 12. Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati 1m33.671s + 3.297s 13. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m33.727s + 3.353s 14. Roberto Rolfo Speed Master Aprilia 1m35.170s + 4.796s 15. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda 1m35.200s + 4.826s 16. Danilo Petrucci Ioda Suter-BMW 1m35.411s + 5.037s 17. James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia 1m35.427s + 5.053s 18. Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW 1m35.715s + 5.341s 19. Ivan Silva Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m37.352s + 6.978s 20. Kris McLaren Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m40.657s + 10.283s 
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Series MotoGP
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Sam Tremayne
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