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.”