Sunday, October 17


Stoner Sensational
By Michael Esdaile
Photos: Peter Geran

DUCATI'S Casey Stoner was absolutely sensational in Sunday morning's MotoGP warm-up session at Phillip Island, scorching around the 4.448 km circuit to leave all his rivals trailling in his wake.

Stoner had the 800cc V4 Ducati sliding at maximum bank angle over Lukey Heights as well as spinning up the rear Bridgestone in the run up through the Hayshed section.

In the end, Stoner recorded a best lap of 1m 30.942s - the only rider to break into the 1m 30s zone all session.

Once again Stoner was in a class of his own on a track that was very cold - just 14 degrees. He ran a total of nine laps, all but one of them faster than the previous one.

Second fastest was San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli with a best lap of 1m 832s - almost two seconds behind Stoner!

On Saturday afternoon, Simoncelli recorded his best qualifying performance of the year with fourth fastest time.

“I am really happy because we have qualified on the third row for the last few races but yesterday I managed it and with a little bit more I could have been on the front row! I'm really pleased with this although being honest I have to admit that Spies is probably a bit faster. We have made a good step on Saturday morning though and now all we have to do is look ahead to the race. The wind was a bit of a problem, especially when I was on my fast lap. I was behind Stoner at that point and I honestly cannot understand how he manages to go so fast!"

Simoncelli's team-mate MArco Melandri was seventh fastest and ran off the track at one point but kept the Honda upright in the wet, muddy grass, and eventually rejoined. However Texan Ben Spies was not so lucky, running off and slipping off the Yamaha, but was unhurt.

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Valentino Rossi managed third fastest time, 1m 32.915s.

To check each rider's performance in Sunday morning's warm-up, click on: