Stoner in top form for Aussie MotoGP

Casey Stoner dominated both practice sessions for the Australian GP on Friday as he closes in on the 2011 MotoGP world championship.

The Australian, chasing his fifth straight win at his home race, recorded a best time of 1 minute, 30.475 seconds around the Phillip Island track ahead of Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo in 1:30.744 in the first session.

Stoner failed to better his time in the afternoon session, but his 1:30.535 was enough to edge out Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli’s third overall quickest 1:30.912.

Simoncelli spilled his bike in each session, but was unhurt and able to ride back to the pits for minor repairs.

Stoner, whose 26th birthday coincides with Sunday’s race, can seal the MotoGP title if he scores 10 points more than Lorenzo. He said his chances of taking the championship in front of his hometown crowd are “slim, almost impossible.”

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi finished 13th overall with a best time of 1:32.014 on his Ducati.

In Moto2, Stefan Bradl of Viessmann Kiefer Racing set the fastest time with an aggressive lap of 1:34.039 in the first session, while JIR Moto2 rider Alex de Angelis was quickest in the afternoon with 1:34.466.

Championship leader Marc Marquez will have one minute added to his time in qualifying on Saturday following his involvement in a spectacular crash.

The Spaniard collided with the back of Ratthapark Wilairot’s bike at the end of the morning session sending both riders careering onto the grass.

Race stewards concluded that Marquez had ridden in “an irresponsible manner.”

Wilairot was taken to hospital for precautionary medical checks and was unable to take part in the afternoon session.

In the 125cc class, Intact Racing Team Germany’s Sandro Cortese was fastest overall with an afternoon time of 1:38.530. Nicolas Terol of Bankia Aspar was second quickest for the day with 1:38.708, while Johann Zarco of Avant-AirAsia-Ajo was third in 1:39.104.

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