Casey Stoner was crowned the 2011 MotoGP World Champion in Australia today with a characteristically dominant victory at Phillip Island, on his birthday, and marking a number of milestones including his second world crown.
His race victory means he now has five consecutive wins at his home circuit, making him the equal winningest rider here. This title is the first for Honda in the 800cc era, and he will go into the history books as both the first and last 800cc MotoGP World Champion after his first title in 2007, which was also the first on Bridgestone tyres.
Whilst Stoner ran away at the front, the race wasn’t without drama as the rains threatened and a few riders fell victim to the changeable conditions. The white flag was shown on lap eight, signalling the pit lane was open for riders to change to the wet bikes as spots of rain started to fall, although the high winds soon moved these on so everyone remained on slicks. Just as the field looked settled though, the rain returned with four laps remaining. Stoner himself had a moment on the final corner but kept it upright whilst Hayden and Capirossi darted into the pits for their wet bikes on lap 24, and Abraham, Bautista, Crutchlow and Aoyama all crashed out although Abraham restarted.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Congratulations Casey and Repsol Honda for a very well deserved World Championship! It was always going to be a special moment at his home race but Casey was the first World Championship on Bridgestone tyres and a big force in catapulting us to the front of MotoGP so we are especially happy to see him win in such fashion in front of 43,800 of his home fans. From all at Bridgestone Motorsport, we sincerely applaud the effort he and the team have put in all season and right from the start it was clear they would be a force to be reckoned with this year.”
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“After a weekend of fine and dry weather, the race today saw the trickiest conditions for the riders and for our tyres as spots of rain started to fall in some places on the track but it was dry and sunny in other. This made it very difficult for the riders to judge the level of grip available, and unfortunately we saw five riders crash as a result. The temperature was cooler today and the wind much stronger which affected tyre performance. In the race six riders used the softer option rear slick we introduced in Australia this year, and I am very pleased that we selected softer rear compounds as they offered improved warm-up performance which was important as the weather got progressively cooler during the weekend.”
Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner and 2011 World Champion
“I don’t think I could fit more things in today! To win like this is really something special; words can’t describe it. It’s been pretty much a perfect season for us, and a big thank you to the team and to everyone. This weekend’s been great for us, but the race threw a few curve balls. They were very, very tricky conditions and there were a few heart-in-mouth moments! I wanted to win this one. Not too many people have so many things align in one day and it’s hard to get a hold of it. Maybe it was just meant to be, but it’s something unbelievable.”