Casey Stoner shrugged off a mid-session crash to storm to pole position for his home MotoGP race at Phillip Island.
The Australian has been a class apart all weekend as he pushes to take a sixth consecutive Phillip Island win in his final MotoGP appearance in front of his home crowd. Fastest by commanding margins in all three practice sessions, Stoner was soon at the top of the timing screens in qualifying, too.
Even a high-side at the exit of Turn 4 could not stop him. Stoner landed safely – with no further damage to his injured ankle - and swiftly returned for his spare bike, with which he immediately improved his pace.
Stoner kept chipping away at his times and eventually reached 1m29.623s. Drizzle in the final couple of minutes prevented a push to go even faster.
With Stoner in another league, Jorge Lorenzo has focused on beating title rival Dani Pedrosa – and looks in good shape to wrap up the 2012 title on Sunday. Lorenzo's Yamaha was half a second down on Stoner in qualifying, but beat Pedrosa's third-placed Honda by 0.435sec.
The Tech 3 Yamahas of Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso took fourth and sixth, split by Stefan Bradl's LCR Honda.
Randy de Puniet got his CRT Aprilia ahead of both works Ducatis for a while. He eventually had to settle for a still spectacular ninth overall for Aspar, just 0.006sec off Valentino Rossi.
Stoner's crash aside, the only incident was a high-side for Avintia's stand-in rider Kris McLaren. The Australian Superbike regular was unhurt but still 6.7sec off the pace on injured Yonny Hernandez's regular bike.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Honda 1m29.623s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m30.140s + 0.517s
3. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m30.575s + 0.952s
4. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m30.763s + 1.140s
5. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m30.798s + 1.175s
6. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha 1m31.200s + 1.577s
7. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m31.490s + 1.867s
8. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m31.661s + 2.038s
9. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m31.667s + 2.044s
10. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m31.681s + 2.058s
11. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m31.910s + 2.287s
12. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m31.990s + 2.367s
13. Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati 1m32.231s + 2.608s
14. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda 1m33.050s + 3.427s
15. Danilo Petrucci Ioda Suter-BMW 1m33.069s + 3.446s
16. Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW 1m33.450s + 3.827s
17. James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia 1m33.489s + 3.866s
18. Roberto Rolfo Speed Master Aprilia 1m33.577s + 3.954s
19. Ivan Silva Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m34.156s + 4.533s
20. Kris McLaren Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m36.324s + 6.701s