Casey Stoner fastest in Phillip Island practice
Casey Stoner set the pace for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, his final home race before he retires.
Last Updated: 27/10/12 7:30am
Aiming for his sixth successive win at Phillip Island and racing just weeks after an operation on his right ankle, Stoner clocked 1 minute, 30.374 in the morning session, ahead of world title rivals Jorge Lorenzo (1:31.279) and Dani Pedrosa (1:31.533).
In the second session, Stoner was the only rider to break the 1 minute, 30-second mark with his fastest lap of 1:29.999.
His Honda team-mate Pedrosa was second-fastest in 1:30.884 on the 4.445-kilometer (2.76-mile) Phillip Island circuit.
Record crowds are expected this weekend as the Australian public says farewell to the 27-year-old Stoner.
The circuit's owners have honoured him by naming the hair-raising turn three "Stoner's corner."
Lorenzo leads Pedrosa by 23 points in the championship standings and the Spanish duo are the only riders who can win the crown with two races remaining.
Phillip Island has not been a happy hunting ground for Lorenzo, who endured a nightmare weekend last year when he crashed in morning practice before the race and was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery on a mangled finger.
Lorenzo insists he will not risk a top-10 finish in Sunday's race in an attempt to clinch the title ahead of Pedrosa, even though he could secure it with the right mix of results in Australia.
"It would be great and we have possibilities (to wrap up the title at Phillip Island), but we're not going to go crazy to make it here," he said.
"The most important thing is to make it. More than ever we must really concentrate and focus and not make any mistakes."
1. C Stoner (Aus) Honda 1 minute 29.999 seconds
2. D Pedrosa (Esp) Honda +0.885
3. J Lorenzo (Esp) Yamaha at +1.006
4. C Crutchlow (Gbr) Yamaha + 1.368
5. A Dovizioso (Ita) Yamaha + 1.459
6. A Bautista (Esp) Honda + 1.617
7. S Bradl (Ger) Honda) + 1.703
8. V Rossi (Ita) Ducati + 2.031
9. N Hayden (USA) Ducati + 2.655
10. R De Puniet (Fra) ART +2.675