CASEY Stoner has begun the defence of his Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix title with a bang.
The 2011 world champion-elect was quickest in the first practice session ahead of Sunday's race.
Stoner clocked an early time of one minute 30.475 seconds, which was not bettered throughout the 45-minute session.
His closest challenger, Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, was almost three tenths of a second back in second spot.
Italian Marco Simoncelli finished third a further two tenths away.
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