Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at Phillip Island:
Casey Stoner has taken an impressive pole position at his home Grand Prix, setting the fastest time in very tricky conditions. Qualifying had started in cold but sunny conditions, with black clouds moving in during the final minutes of qualifying. Stoner had been fastest for most of the session, ceding pole only briefly to Ben Spies and then Jorge Lorenzo. With 10 minutes of the session left, the Marlboro Ducati rider settled the issue for good, taking half a second off Jorge Lorenzo's provisional pole time, then whittling another two tenths off his time with three minutes of the session left.
Stoner had timed his fastest lap perfectly: rain had been spotting the southern part of the track for the last 5 minutes or so, and by the time the rest of the grid prepared to make their final assault on pole, the rain was making track conditions difficult enough to make it impossible to catch the Australian.
Newly-crowned 2010 champion Jorge Lorenzo will start from 2nd on the grid, the Fiat Yamaha rider unable to improve on his time set with a quarter of the session to go, while Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Ben Spies gets the third front row start of his career, setting his fastest lap in the middle of a race simulation.
San Carlo Gresini's Marco Simoncelli had a surprisingly strong qualifying session, and heads up the 2nd row of the grid, ahead of two Americans, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards and Marlboro Ducati's Nicky Hayden. Hayden had a harmless crash exiting the Honda Hairpin with a few minutes to go, a sign that the track was still treacherous in some spots.
LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet will start from 7th, while nine-time world champion - and Phillip Island specialist - Valentino Rossi could manage just the 8th fastest time. The Fiat Yamaha rider had the conditions working against him, but he was not helped by Pramac Ducati's Aleix Espargaro, who balked him on the way out of the hairpin just as he was starting fast lap on soft tires.
Andrea Dovizioso is the first of the factory Repsol Hondas, way down in 9th, while Marco Melandri rounds out the top 10.
|7||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1'31.554||1.447||0.024|