Australian Grand Prix Review: Casey Takes Race Win & World Title
Today’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island marked the ninth victory of the season for Casey Stoner, who extends his successful run in the Grand Prix of his country and wins a second MotoGP World Championship title in his first year with the Repsol Honda Team. After Jorge Lorenzo’s crash in the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwarm-upÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, which prevented the Spaniard from taking part in the race, the Australian only needed to be sixth to mathematically secure the premier category title. Nevertheless, he left nothing to chance and achieved a crushing victory in a race where Andrea Dovizioso finished third and Dani Pedrosa, fourth.
At the start, Casey Stoner was decided to secure a title brilliantly achieved during a season where he has not been out of the podium except in Jerez, where he was hit by Rossi when he was in second position, arriving to Australia with 8 victories in 15 races. The ninth started to take shape today from the first laps, in which he quickly built some margin in front, with an advantage that not even the rain was able to reduce. The white flags that allowed the change of bike from the ninth lap, as there was intermittent rain in some areas of the circuit, gave a great deal of suspense to this new stroll to victory for the Australian, who achieved his fifth consecutive victory in Phillip Island.
Behind him, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa fought to get on the podium from the beginning of the race. The Italian completed the first lap in the same position he started, as he overtook Bautista but was surpassed by Hayden, whom he was able to pass in the third lap. Pedrosa, who started eight, was sixth at that moment after recovering two places and was at the wheel of his countryman. Overtaking him in the fourth lap, he tried to do the same with Hayden in the following lap. The American tried to resist, but a lap later Pedrosa was able to pass him and place himself behind Dovizioso, who was trying to catch Marco Simoncelli, second.
When the three riders got together, Pedrosa overtook his team mate, but eight laps later Dovizioso surpassed him in a thrilling fight for the third place of the podium, which allowed Simoncelli to get some advantage again. With many problems with the front tyre’s grip, Pedrosa was not able to keep the pace of his two Italian rivals.
The return of the intermittent rain three laps before the end allowed Dovizioso to catch again his countryman, whom he overtook in a risky manoeuvre, considering the conditions of the tarmac in some areas of the track. A position that he was not able to keep in the last lap, which he finished in the third place of the podium, in front of Dani Pedrosa, who rode alone until the chequered flag.
Stoner’s crown is the ninth of the Repsol Honda Team since 1995; a spectacular track record that adds the name of the Australian to that of champions such as Mick Doohan, Alex CrivillÃƒÂ©, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, who achieved the last title for the team in 2006. With this new world championship, Stoner closes an era in MotoGP, that of the 800cc, achieving the long-awaited title for HRC after several years fighting to develop a machine that this season, together with Dani Pedrosa, secured 12 victories in 16 races.
“I don’t think anyone could plan things to happen better than they have today! The race was incredibly difficult, the conditions we’re very tough. I built up an early lead as I saw the rain coming in, but I wasn’t sure if it would hit us.
I basically ran into a wall of rain, there wasn’t any warning at the back part of the circuit and I came into the last turn and the rain started hard. I nearly lost control and thought for sure I was going to end up in the gravel. I managed to control it and maintain the gap to everyone and thankfully bring it home for the win, but it was a little bit nerve-racking for sure.
I’m really sorry that Jorge [Lorenzo] had the accident this morning, he’s great competitor and I think if he’d been here racing today things might not have turned out the way they have, I hope his operation goes well and he’s back racing as soon as he feels fit.
I can’t thank everyone enough, my team, Repsol, all our sponsors, everyone that has worked so hard all year, thank you!”.
Source: Repsol Media