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Stoner snatches pole from Rossi for home race

  • Story Highlights
  • Casey Stoner claims pole position at his home Australian Grand Prix
  • The 2007 world champion edges out Valentino Rossi by just 0.050 seconds
  • Ducati rider is seeking third successive win at Phillip Island circuit on Sunday
  • Dani Pedrosa qualifies third, with Rossi's main title rival Jorge Lorenzo fourth
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(CNN) -- Casey Stoner edged out world MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi to claim pole position at his home Australian Grand Prix on Saturday and boost his chances of a third successive victory at Phillip Island.

Casey Stoner played down his chances of claiming a third successive win at Phillip Island.

Casey Stoner played down his chances of claiming a third successive win at Phillip Island.

The 2007 world champion will start from the front of the grid for the second year in a row after continuing his superb form following a three-race absence due to a mystery illness.

The Queenslander, who was second in Portugal on his comeback two weeks ago, set a fastest time of one minute 30.341 seconds on his Ducati -- just 0.050 seconds ahead of Rossi after an engrossing battle with the Italian.

Stoner, who turned 24 on Friday, was quick to play down his chances of winning on Sunday.

"We don't have the same grip levels that we have had the last two years here," he told the official MotoGP Web site. "With the stiffer chassis which we have now it works very well at some circuits, but not so well at others. So we have lost that advantage.

"We definitely have more corner speed, but we are spinning a lot as we come out of corners and we can't get it to hook up so we're working a lot on the rear end.

"We've shortened the bike, we've changed some of the pivot positions, we've dropped the riding height, all sorts of things, but we are still searching for something for tomorrow. The warm-up session is going to be very important."

Honda's Dani Pedrosa survived a crash to secure third place after having to use a second bike as he edged past Rossi's Fiat Yamaha teammate and main title rival Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo, who closed to within 18 points of Rossi with three races remaining after his victory at Estoril, missed out on a front-row start for the first time this season.

"We still don't have enough grip on the rear and the tire is spinning too much, which makes it difficult to be fast enough. Tomorrow I will try to adapt my riding style instead in order to try to make it onto the podium," he said.

"I feel better than yesterday but I'm still not at 100 percent. I feel quite weak still because I haven't been able to eat much."

The Spaniard will be joined on the second row by Monster Yamaha Tech 3's veteran American rider Colin Edwards and Honda's Alex de Angelis, who bounced back after an early spill.

The rest of the top-10 qualifiers was made up by Stoner's teammate Nicky Hayden, LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet, Mika Kallio of Pramac Racing and Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso.

All About Casey StonerValentino RossiDani PedrosaJorge LorenzoAustraliaMotorcycle RacingMotorsports

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