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Oct 26, 2012

Stoner Maintains Advantage During MotoGP Free Practice Two At Phillip Island

Casey Stoner (1).
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Phillip Island Circuit
Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia
October 26, 2012
Free Practice Two Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Casey STONER, Australia (HONDA), 1:29.999
2. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:30.884
3. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:31.005
4. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:31.367
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:31.458
6. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:31.616
7. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:31.702
8. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (DUCATI), 1:32.030
9. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:32.654
10. Randy DE PUNIET, France (Aprilia-Aspar/ART), 1:32.674
11. Hector BARBERA, Spain (DUCATI), 1:32.706
12. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (DUCATI), 1:32.744
13. Colin EDWARDS, USA (BMW-Forward/SUTER), 1:33.835
14. Michele PIRRO, Italy (Honda-Gresini/FTR), 1:34.002
15. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (Aprilia-Aspar/ART), 1:34.479
16. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (BMW-IODA/SUTER), 1:34.531
17. James ELLISON, UK (Aprilia-PBM/ART), 1:34.561
18. Ivan SILVA, Spain (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 1:34.746
19. Roberto ROLFO, Italy (Aprilia-Speed Master/ART), 1:34.771

Not qualified (Out 107%) 1:36.298

20. Kris McLAREN, Australia (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 1:38.203

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha MotoGP Team:

The first practice of the weekend for the Grand Prix of Australia got underway today with Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo battling windy conditions to finish third in the combined times just 0.121 seconds behind Championship rival Dani Pedrosa in second. Lorenzo's crew worked hard to find better stability for the Championship leader as strong winds across parts of the track made it difficult to find a good pace.

Jorge Lorenzo Position : 3rd Time: 1'31.005 Laps: 19

"It's been really tough so far today, the conditions are quite difficult. It's been really windy which makes it very uncomfortable to ride. We are going to try and stay with Dani here and also Casey but he is very fast, he's on another level at this track. I think we are close to Dani so our goal is to try and beat him. We're going to try and make the bike more stable tomorrow to keep the wheels on the ground and make it more comfortable in the wind."

Wilco Zeelenberg
Team Manager

"Today wasn't our best practice day of the season, we struggled with the wind. It looks like we're not far off with the set up but we need a little bit better stability, especially in the windy corners like turn three and on the back straight. Jorge is feeling good and riding well so I think we will get there tomorrow."

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Crutchlow and Dovizioso make promising start at Phillip Island

Cool but dry conditions for the majority of today's opening two practice sessions at Phillip Island enabled Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso to complete a positive and productive start to the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix weekend.

A short rain shower briefly interrupted this morning's opening practice, but with a strong wind blowing off the nearby Bass Strait, Dovizioso and Crutchlow were quickly able to return to the fast and flowing Phillip Island track to continue preparations for Sunday's 27-lap race.

British rider Crutchlow was satisfied with his work today after he finished as leading non-factory rider in fourth position. Crutchlow's performance was particularly impressive considering he was struck down by a high fever and bout of bronchitis after arriving in Melbourne earlier this week.

He rested up as much as possible to try and shake off the illness and although he is still well below his physical best, has been able to push his Monster Yamaha YZR-M1 close to the limit and he finished with a best time of 1.31.367.

That put him only 0.362s away from the top three and 0.091s ahead of teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who also made significant progress after he logged a best time of 1.31.968s this morning. The Italian was able to lap more than 0.5s faster in sunny but breezy conditions this afternoon.

Dovizioso is confident he can make further steps with the front-end feeling of his YZR-M1 machine tomorrow to boost his chances of a podium finish in Sunday's race, which is the penultimate round of the 2012 World Championship campaign.

Cal Crutchlow 4th 1.31.367 39 laps:

"It was a good start to the weekend and I'm happy considering how ill I've felt before today. I had a really high temperature yesterday but the bigger issue is the bronchitis because I am finding it quite hard to breathe. I felt better today and concentration is not a problem but this track is so physical and fast that you don't get a break. And with the wind you are constantly fighting the bike, so that isn't making it any easier for me. I will go and see the Clinica Mobile staff again tonight and hopefully I'll feel better again tomo rrow. I'm still not anywhere near 100% and my target is to leave this weekend picking up some decent points. We can make the bike better because I lose a lot of time in the second half of the lap. You get a lot of spinning from the rear tyre at this track and that is an area we need to look at improving for the rest of the weekend. The track seems really bumpy as well. It was bad last year but today it felt five times worse and the surface is wrecked, but everybody is in the same boat."

Andrea Dovizioso 5th 1.31.458 39 laps:

"As always when we come to this great track at this time of year, the conditions were normal for Phillip Island. It was quite cool and windy but the positive thing is that apart from a few minutes of rain this morning we were able to ride on a dry track to concentrate on improv ing the set-up of the bike. We gained a lot of data today but it is clear we have to recover a bit of time to get closer to the top three. My feeling with the bike though is quite good but I would like to gain a bit more feeling from the front. This is the main point in this track because there are a lot of fast and long corners with some very fast changes of direction, so you have to prepare the bike on the exit to have the right line. If you can do this quickly the lap time comes quite easy. If we can improve then I am very confident I can be closer to fighting for the podium on Sunday."

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Stoner on record pace on first day at Phillip Island

Friday, 26 October 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 14-15°C; Track 24-29°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 16-17°C; Track 27-30°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner kicked off his final MotoGP™ appearance at his home circuit in spectacular fashion by setting a scorching lap of 1'29.999 in the second free practice session at Phillip Island.

Stoner was fastest in both practice sessions but his best lap in FP2, set on the combination of the harder rear and softer front slick, was the only lap in the 1'29 bracket and quicker than the existing lap record set by Nicky Hayden in 2008. On the other Repsol Honda, Dani Pedrosa was second quickest in today's practice and the only rider to lap within one second of Stoner, while Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo was third quickest with a best lap of 1'31.005.

There were periods of sunshine at Phillip Island today, though these were continuously interrupted by light rain and cloud cover that kept track temperatures below the 30°C mark. The mild track temperatures meant most riders preferred the softer slick options both front and rear, though some riders on works machines did assess the harder rear slick in the warmer afternoon session. Similar weather is forecast for tomorrow, so tyre choice for qualifying may also trend towards the softer compounds.

Shinji Aoki Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

"The weather today was typical for Phillip Island with circuit experiencing sun, wind and rain at different times throughout the day. Both practice sessions were deemed dry but the light rain that fell throughout the day meant track conditions were below average and so softer compounds were preferred for their superior grip. The tyres we've supplied this weekend are working well so far and in particular, Casey's pace shows us that our 2012 specification tyres are providing high levels of performance for the 1000cc machines at this fast and flowing circuit."

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Phillip Island, 26th October: among the riders, the spectacular Phillip Island circuit is one of the most appreciated on the MotoGP calendar but it is also famous for offering inclement weather conditions but in today's opening day of the "Island GP" Stefan Bradl and his colleagues were greet by sunny skies with the German posting the 7th lap time of the day (1'31.702).

Bradl has successful records at the ocean track and made the most from his Honda machine today but was not satisfied about his performance missing some confidence in the fast turns.

Stefan: "It was a quite tough day for us and was expecting a better feeling on this race track. Basically I have not enough confidence although we tried different adjustments especially in the fast corners. In the corners exit I am struggling to keep the bike in balance and it's tough to avoid the rear pumping; the surface is very bumpy here and it makes the problem even worse. In these conditions I can not be faster as I would like and we must analyze the data finding a quick solution for a better set up which will give me the chance to lap faster than this".

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

King Casey fastest on Day 1 in Phillip Island with Dani in 2nd

Today the first day of the Australian Grand Prix saw Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa topping the time sheets at Phillip Island. Casey set the best lap time of 1'29.999, faster than the circuit record (Nicky Hayden, 1'30.059 in 2008), with Dani in second position, 0.8 tenths off the Australian hero with 1'30.884.

Casey began his mission to take the victory on his last career appearance at Phillip Island, while Dani aims to keep his current momentum and finish in front of Jorge Lorenzo again to bring the fight for the championship to the last round in Valencia.

The action will continue tomorrow with the last free practice in the morning and qualifying in the afternoon, but the Repsol Honda Team garage will be busy early in the morning to prepare a Honda RC213V for a demonstration run with Mick Doohan, the five time 500cc World Champion, at 09h15 local time.

CASEY STONER 1st 1'29.999

"It was a very positive first day, we were pretty quick to get on the pace and to be honest I didn't expect to achieve the lap times we did. With the extra horse power we have this year it's a little easier to get around this place quickly!. The times we were able to do in the first session were pretty good but I thought everybody would improve a lot more in the second session but we were able to go quite a lot faster than everybody with almost race distance on our soft tyres and then we put the hard tyre on and were able to improve again. This is very positive at this stage of the weekend but we'll have to wait for tomorrow and Sunday to see where everyone else is. My ankle is in a lot worse condition than in Motegi but coming here, ther e are a lot less right hand corners, it's nice to take a bit of weight off it".

DANI PEDROSA 2nd 1'30.884

"Fortunately, today we've had two dry sessions which was not expected and that's good at a circuit like this as the first day is important to find a good direction for the set up. I only tried the soft rear tyre today, so tomorrow will be important to test the hard compound and some different ideas on the electronics and suspension to improve the feeling. Casey is going very fast here, as expected, so let's see if it stays dry tomorrow and we can work on the pace and close the gap to Casey".

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Ducati Team riders seek setup for Phillip Island

Phillip Island's typical springtime weather conditions had the MotoGP riders dealing with cold wind and occasional raindrops on the first day of practice at the Australian Grand Prix.

Nonetheless, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were able to work on their setups during the first two free practice sessions, as they sought a competitive pace in the fast corners without sacrificing traction on acceleration. The Italian believes he is on the right path, but both he and the American have to diminish the bothersome chatter they're experiencing.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th (1:32.030)
"In the end, this first day didn't go too badly, considering that we're not so far from Bradl and Bautista. We improved the bike's setup and I was able to go quite a bit faster in the afternoon compared to this morning. I also did some nice laps with the used tyre, which is important. Tomorrow we'll try to make another step forward and look for a balance that allows me to ride well in the fast corners without losing too much traction in acceleration. Here we do lots of accelerating on the left side, so the tyre temperature goes up and the tyres begin to slide more and more. We'll see tomorrow. We'll have to continue improving as we did between today's two sessions, and then we'll also decide which tyre to use."

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (1:32.312)
"It hasn't been a great day. The conditions weren't easy for anyone. It was cold and windy with a few spots of rain, which makes it tough on a fast track. I didn't have a lot of confidence in the fast corners, as the bike was moving a lot and the track felt very bumpy. I had a lot of chatter and vibration, so it's tough to push hard. Tonight we need to think about how we can improve the feeling and feedback and hopefully do a big step tomorrow."

More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:

Positive start of Australian Grand Prix:
Karel Abraham competitive with Ducati factory bike

Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham finished twelfth in today´s free practices to Grand Prix of Australia at Phillip Island Circuit located on south-east of Australian continent. With 1:32,744 Karel is losing 2,745 to the fastest Casey Stoner and only one tenth to Nicky Hayden´s factory Ducati.

Karel Abraham
"I´m quite satisfied with today sessions. We suffered some problems in the morning - bike had been very bumpy when leaving corners. Now after changing the set up the bike is more balanced, but we still have problem with grip on rear tyre. We finished on twelfth place, but the compared to the lap times of other riders it doesn´t seem bad. We lose only some thousandth to Hector Barbera and only one tenth of second to Nicky Hayden on factory bike."

Marco Grana, šéfmechanik Cardion AB Motoracing
"We started in the morning with different mentality compared to the last race at Sepang. Karel like this track, and this would help us. We were immediately fast, the main problem is grip on the rear tyre. We just need to set up everything for race and improve the bike to get better acceleration. We made huge progress with tyres. We used only one set of tyres for 24 laps and from this point of view we are prepared to the race. Compared to other riders on prototypes we made good lap times. We are losing only 0,7 second to the Top Ten."

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

As the first day of free practices got underway at the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix in Phillip Island this weekend it was Repsol Honda Team's Casey Stoner who showed himself as the man to beat in the premier-class with a dominant display ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.

Set in the afternoon session, Stoner's time in the high 1.29s was over eight tenths ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa, who was nonetheless improving steadily across the session, with his sole aim this weekend to finish ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner is not showing any signs of his injury, as he looks in breath-taking form ahead of his quest to take his sixth consecutive win at the track. It was Yamaha Factory Racing's Lorenzo, who could clinch the world title on Sunday, that occupied third spot on the timesheets, albeit over a second off the top time set by Stoner.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow came in fourth, with the Brit doing extremely well to overcome flu type symptoms he has been experiencing since leaving Malaysia earlier this week. In fifth, his teammate Andrea Dovizioso had a solid day, though will have to find something extra if he is to take third spot in the championship off Stoner this weekend. Behind him in sixth, San Carlo Honda Gresini's Álvaro Bautista was on good form, seemingly finding some of the confidence in the bike he had two weeks ago in Motegi.

Seventh place went to his satellite counterpart Stefan Bradl on his LCR Honda MotoGP machine, who was the last of the riders to be within two seconds of the top. Ducati Team's Valentino Rossi ended the day in eighth as top Desmosedici, although the Italian, who has won at this track five times in his career, will no doubt be looking for a lot more.

In ninth, his teammate Nicky Hayden was the only rider in the top ten to not better his time in the afternoon practice session. Power Electronics Aspar's Randy de Puniet completed the top ten, with the Frenchman not only finishing as top CRT, but also beating the satellite Ducatis of Pramac Racing Team's Héctor Barberá and Cardion AB Racing's Karel Abraham.

The only crasher was San Carlo's Michele Pirro in the morning session, who initially produced an incredibly save from a big highside - only then to fall once he ran into the dirt. He was able to re-join the morning session for the final part. Yamaha's Ben Spies is absent for the rest of the season as he recovers from surgery on his injured shoulder.


After a second Moto2™ free practice session that was cut short by rain at the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island it was Tuenti Movil HP 40's Pol Espargaró who topped the day's timesheets ahead of Scott Redding and Tom Lüthi.

Espargaró was instantly on the pace in the second session, not taking long to post his fastest time of 1.34'578, the fastest of the day, before ominous clouds arrived with 20 minutes left and dumped a hefty spot of rain on the circuit. And with many riders still doing set-up work and not focussing on outright lap times until the end, this meant that Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding retained second spot in the combined timesheets, despite only finishing in eighth in FP2. Interwetten-Paddock's Tom Lüthi and Redding's teammate Mika Kallio finished behind the Brit, also thanks to their times from the morning.

QMMF Racing's Anthony West, fresh from his first-ever podium in Moto2 in Malaysia last weekend, ended the day in fifth, despite setting the third quickest time of the afternoon, ousting Kiefer Racing's Mike Di Meglio into sixth. Seventh spot went to potential championship winner this weekend, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol's Marc Márquez, with the Spaniard's team fortunate to have resolved an electrical issue, which stopped him from setting a time in the morning. Speed Master's Andrea Iannone, who despite not looking like his usual self, set the eighth quickest time of the day with a quick run in the afternoon, with GP Team Switzerland's Randy Krummenacher making a welcome return from injury in ninth.

Completing the top ten was last race winner Alex de Angelis on his NGM Mobile Forward Racing machine, after the San Marino rider improved marginally in the afternoon. Tech 3 Racing's Xavier Siméon suffered engine problems early on in the second session, while Arguiñano Racing Team's Ricky Cardús crashed in both sessions, fortunately walking away unscathed. Following the rain, some riders went out on track to check conditions with wet tyres, yet no hot-laps were set, with not much data to be gathered.


It was in the second Moto3™ free practice at the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island where Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3's Jonas Folger set the fastest time of the day in front of Sandro Cortese and Maverick Viñales.

Unlike in the morning session there was no sun at the island circuit to greet the riders, however this did not deter the Moto3™ contingent, which once again tested its mettle on the fast and flowing track. Folger left it late to post the best time of the day, a 1.39'213, to jump past Red Bull KTM Ajo's World Champion Sandro Cortese, who had been the consistently quickest all day. Behind them was Blusens Avintia's Maverick Viñales, now back together with the team after a public apology by the rider, who did well to recover from a crash in the morning session.

Cortese's teammate Danny Kent was once again high up the timesheets in fourth, however he was almost half a second off Viñales. Behind him, Team Italia FMI's Romano Fenati looked to have found some much needed pace after a difficult morning session, ousting AirAsia-SIC-Ajo's star of the last race, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, into sixth. Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta's Jakub Kornfeil came in seventh with both JHK t-shirt Laglisse's Efrén Vázquez and Andalucia JHK t-shirt Laglisse's Alberto Moncayo in tow.

Racing Team Germany's Louis Rossi came in tenth, despite being a crasher early in the session. Estrella Galicia 0,0's Miguel Oliveira suffered a mechanical issue right at the start but was ale to re-join practice, while Rossi's teammate Toni Finsterbusch also had a problem with his bike. Ambrogio Next Racing's Alex Márquez had a big crash in the afternoon practice, yet managed to avoid any serious injury.

Technomag-CIP-TSR's Alan Techer was a crasher in the morning session, with Fastline GP Racing's wildcard Sam Clarke and Oliveira's teammate Alex Rins following suit. It was also heartache for Mahindra Racing's Danny Webb, whose engine blew in the first outing. With no more engines left, the Brit is forced to miss the remainder of the weekend.

More, from a press release issued by Power Electronics Aspar Team:


POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider on the pace at the Island, Aleix Espargaró thirteenth

The penultimate round of the MotoGP World Championship got underway in Australia today in the absence of the injured Yonny Hernández, replaced by local rider Kris McLaren, and Ben Spies. Casey Stoner came into his home round with injury worries of his own but he showed no signs of discomfort with his badly damaged right ankle as he proved once again that he is the king of Phillip Island, as the local advertising campaign suggests. The Australian may have a weak ankle but he dominated today's proceedings with an iron fist, leaving Dani Pedrosa trailing by 0.8 seconds and Jorge Lorenzo even further adrift, as he aims for his sixth successive victory in his home Grand Prix.

After the tribulations of the last two rounds Randy De Puniet was finally smiling again today as he recovered his feeling with the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar ART machine. The Frenchman set a strong pace from the outset today and then dropped his times significantly in the afternoon to record and impressive 1'32.674, the tenth fastest time of the day. His team-mate Aleix Espargaró was not as comfortable, meanwhile, and despite being the second fastest CRT on track he was unable to improve his fastest lap (1'33.727) from the morning to the afternoon and he is hoping to make big steps tomorrow.

10th Randy De Puniet 1.32.674 (39 laps): "I am happy because I have had a good feeling all day today. I went six tenths quicker this afternoon than this morning and managed to gap my team-mate Aleix by a second for the top CRT spot. We have really struggled for a set-up in the last couple of races so we have to be happy to start off a GP like this. I feel strong and I plan to keep going like this for the rest of the weekend. It will be difficult to make up a ten-point gap to Aleix in the championship in just two races but we're going to try. Taking Stoner out of the equation we are close to the top guys and this is not an easy track."

13th Aleix Espargaró 1.33.727 (31 laps): "I really struggled to get a feeling today. I could feel something wasn't right with the front wheel this morning and I didn't feel comfortable. The same issues carried over to the afternoon and we tried a different gearbox that I didn't like so the performance was the exact opposite to what we were hoping for. We also had an electrical fault that brought the session to an early end but there is no need to panic - today was the day to try these things so now it is time to analyse everything and try to improve tomorrow."

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Edwards close to the best during Philip Island´s free practices

Edwards makes it to 13th position during the first day of free practice at the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix, where the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team can look positively forward to a the following two days.

The American rider has concluded today with the second best CRT lap time, having only one ART ahead of him.

Colin Edwards - 5
"We are in lovely Australia, my favorite track in the whole wide world.
When we started this morning we had an idea to make some changes from we had in Malaysia and we did but it wasn't enough. I have to say I am really proud of my guys, especially of my Crew Chief, today we made a change that he suggested in the morning that worked great and saved us a lot of time. This change gave us a really good direction to work on in the afternoon practice. Went out on the chassis that is a little bit different to the one I used last weekend, and with a lighter crankshaft. We seem to have an issue with front hopping but we have a couple of ideas to solve it tomorrow morning. You could say that this is my third home race and so far it feels good."

Sergio Verbena Crew Chief
"This morning we didn't do so many laps due to the rain, and we also wanted to test immediately several new solutions to see which would have been the right direction to follow, to find the right setting for this specific race track. We found some change that Colin seemed to like particularly and during FP2 we were able to be in front of on of the aprilias that normally is faster than us. We have also identified some areas in which we can improve. The objective is to at least be in the 14th position tomorrow."