Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner will start his home grand prix from the pole position after setting a record lap during Saturday’s qualifying session at Phillip Island, Australia.

Stoner scored his eighth pole position of the year, and first in three races, with a stunning last lap that narrowly topped Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, pole-sitter of the last two races, and Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden, who'd been fastest in Saturday morning practice. Stoner had only .069 secs. on Lorenzo with Hayden, who was on pole in 2005 and 2006, just .022 secs. slower.

Recently crowned world champion Valentino Rossi wasn't a factor in the pole fight. With 15 minutes to run, the Fiat Yamaha rider ran off the track and into the gravel trap, where he tipped over, tweaking his neck. The Italian went back out at the end of the session, but only managed the 12th fastest time.

The second row was two privateers and a factory bike. LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet was fourth fastest, and narrowly off the front row, with Tech 3 Yamaha’s James Toseland the first rider in the 29’s (1:29.031. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was sixth.

Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards led off row three from JiR Team Scot MotoGP’s Andrea Dovizioso and Shinya Nakano on the first of the San Carlo Honda Gresini bikes.

MotoGP Qualifying:

1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:28.665

2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:28.734

3. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1:28.756

4. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:28.808

5. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:29.031

6. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:29.277

7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:29.513

8. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:29.558

9. Shinya Nakano (Honda) 1:29.710

10. Alex de Angelis (Honda) 1:29.925

11. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:29.942

12. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:30.014

13. Toni Elias (Ducati) 1:30.202

14. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:30.297

15. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:30.545

16. John Hopkins (Kawasaki) 1:31.157

17. Marco Melandri (Ducati) 1:31.939

18. Anthony West (Kawasaki) 1:31.995

World Superbike News

By Cycle News Staff

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