Stoner on top as Phillip Island practice begins
26 October 2012 – Casey Stoner pushed aside any doubts about his capabilities by topping Friday’s first practice session for his home Australian MotoGP. The reigning Champion, on his penultimate weekend before retiring, led title rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
Having long since marked this weekend as one of the biggest of his career, Stoner led the way with a best lap time of 1:30.374. Although his ankle is still yet to fully recover, he was almost a full second quicker than the Yamaha of Lorenzo.
Spots of rain threatened to break up proceedings, but there were no significant showers as Andrea Dovizioso was best of the rest in fourth place. Álvaro Bautista rounded out the top five from Britain’s Cal Crutchlow who has been suffering from flu, with Nicky Hayden the leading Ducati works machine in seventh.
Yamaha’s Ben Spies has not travelled to Australia and underwent surgery in the United States on Tuesday; he will remain on the sidelines for the rest of the campaign. This morning, top CRT spot went to Randy de Puniet as his Aspar moved inside the first ten.
Michele Pirro suffered the only accident of the session, but later rejoined the action.
Practice 2 at Phillip Island begins at 3:10pm local time (BST +10)