Stoner takes emphatic home victory heading Bridgestone 1-2 Ducati rider Casey Stoner took a tremendous home victory at Phillip Island this afternoon, claiming his and Bridgestone's second consecutive Australian Grand Prix win. It is Stoner's...
Stoner takes emphatic home victory heading Bridgestone 1-2
Ducati rider Casey Stoner took a tremendous home victory at Phillip Island this afternoon, claiming his and Bridgestone's second consecutive Australian Grand Prix win. It is Stoner's fifth win of the season and further cements his second place in the world championship with two races remaining. The popular victory also takes the total number of wins by riders using Bridgestone tyres this season to thirteen, one more than were scored last season with just the Malaysia and Valencia events still to run.
In front of a passionate crowd, Stoner led from the start and never relinquished his command over the 27-lap race, leading a hard-charging Nicky Hayden in the early stages before gradually extending his advantage in the second half of the race. Hayden was forced to settle for third at the chequered flag after an impressive run from Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi. After a qualifying crash relegated him to 12th on the grid, Rossi charged up the field and became embroiled in a close scrap for third. Passing James Toseland for the position on lap 13, Rossi then began to steadily close the gap to Hayden and managed to get past the Repsol Honda rider on the final lap to take an additional twenty points for his championship-winning tally.
The podium was filled with world champions with last year's title holder Stoner leading this year's champion Rossi and 2006 victor Hayden. It is the sixth time this season that Stoner and Rossi have occupied the first two spots on the podium.
San Carlo Honda Gresini's Shinya Nakano was on the tail of the battle for fourth place throughout the 27-lap event. The Japanese rider used all the remaining grip from his Bridgestone tyres on a terrific final lap, elevating himself from seventh to fifth position, his best result since finishing fourth in Brno back in August.
Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit
"That was a highly charged race and there was plenty of close and competitive racing going on. Casey did an outstanding job today to take his second home win in a row, so congratulations to him and Ducati for their fifth win of the season. It was a dominant win for Casey after early pressure from Nicky, and he truly deserved his success today. Valentino also produced an exceptional ride today from 12th on the grid. To get up to third place was already an achievement, but to steal second place on the last lap was great. Between Casey and Valentino's results, we have seen Bridgestone-shod riders win the last nine races in a row and 13 times in total this year, which is a new record for us. A special word of congratulations must also go to Shinya for a competitive race this afternoon. His commitment in maintaining pace with such a closely-fought group helped him take a fine top five result."
Shinji Aoki - Bridgestone Motorsport - Assistant Manager, Race Tyre Development
"Phillip Island is never an easy race for the tyre manufacturers, so I am very pleased that our tyres could contribute to today's excellent result. We did not have a trouble-free race, but over the last few years we have shown that our tyre performance has gradually improved and I think we can say that we had our most competitive Australian GP performance today. In practice, we could get a reasonable indication of the durability of the race tyres, but it is only when we run 27 laps consecutively that we can understand exactly what the tyre degradation is like. Thankfully, most of our riders were able to push right until the flag, as we could see from Valentino and Shinya's last lap passing moves."
Casey Stoner - Ducati - Race Winner
"We found a good direction in warm-up this morning and were able to set a strong pace, but it was difficult to know what to expect from the race. At the start I thought there was no way I could pull away from Nicky. He looked so good riding behind me, I could hear him there every step of the way. Then my bike started feeling a little bit better as the tyres warmed up, so I went a little bit quicker and pulled a small advantage. We just kept building from there and then it was just a matter of bringing it home. This season's been a very difficult one for us, but we've givent everything. We've had a few ups and downs, and it's nice to come back up again. We've been working really hard this weekend and we managed to do it. It is always special to win in front of the Australian crowd, who have given us such a terrific support again at Phillip Island this weekend, and we've now managed two in a row, which is a fantastic feeling."
Weather: Dry - Air 19C, Track 37C (Bridgestone average measurement)