Casey Stoner is crowned MotoGP World Champion following a totally dominant victory in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. With fellow Red Bull athletes Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa finishing 3rd and 4th and the remaining factory Honda rider 2nd it was a perfect day for the Japanese brand.
Stoner was in a class of his own all weekend and launched himself from pole position into an early lead. No one could match his pace and he charged away into a commanding advantage. With his only serious championship rival, Jorge Lorenzo, missing the race after badly injuring his finger in the morning warm up Stoner only had to take home a handful of points to secure the title.
The only threat to that came with 3 laps to go when rain swept across the circuit, Stoner survived a nasty slide while three other riders crashed. The rain ceased as quickly as it had started and Stoner eased the pace and strode home to celebrate his 2nd World Championship and his 26th birthday. His first World Championship was won on the Ducati in 2007 and he becomes only the 5th rider in history to take the premier class title on two different brands. His record of 32 victories also places him 5th in the all time winners list for the category.
Way behind Stoner the battle for 2nd was a thriller. Early on Marco Simoncelli took up the hopeless task of chasing Stoner but the Italian was soon joined by fellow countryman Dovizioso and later by Pedrosa who was battling through frustrating weekend where a good bike set-up was proving illusive.
The three swapped places in their fight for the rostrum places and when the rain shower came Simoncelli and Dovizioso pushed their luck way out to the edge. Incredibly both arch rivals stayed upright and Simoncelli proved the braver and luckier taking 2nd from Dovizioso.
“I don't think I could fit too many more things into this day, it's my birthday, my 5th win in a row here, my 2nd World Championship, my home home Grand Prix,” said Stoner. To win like this is really something special. I don't think many people can align that many things to fit in that well. It has been pretty much a dream season for us, everything has gone pretty well. We've had a few ups and downs but the downs haven't been too far down and our ups have been a long way up there. So I have to say a big thanks to the team.”
“Things went pretty well for us all weekend and it was just the race there that threw a few curve balls at us and as I was in the lead I was the one who was having to test conditions first. It wasn't the way I wanted to do this race, I thought things would go a little more smoothly but we managed to bring it home for the win and the Championship. Everything all in one day is.. you know, the words can't describe.”
Moto 2 to de Angelis
Alex de Angelis was in great form all weekend and won from pole position. That was not the story of the race though because Red Bull athlete Marc Marquez stole most of the glory for his incredible charge from last place on the grid to 3rd behind championship arch rival Stefan Bradl who led for much of the race only to be beaten to the flag by de Angelis.
Bradl arrived in Australia a single point behind Marquez in the title chase but the fact that he leaves with a 3 point lead will be little comfort considering the Spaniard's incredible race pace and the fact that he is obviously the man on form with 2 races remaining in the season.
The Red Bull athlete started from the back of the grid thanks to a 1 minute qualifying lap penalty given to him following a slowing down lap collision in an early practice session when he was judged to have taken insufficient care. It looked likely to be a huge handicap to his race chances but from 38th on the grid he was 16th at the end of the first lap.
“I knew that the start would be difficult and so important. It was and I pushed so hard and passed many riders,” explained Marquez. “By the end of the race the rear tyre was completely destroyed because I had pushed so hard. I am happy with the result though because I lost only a few points and that was the important thing.”
125 to Cortese from the Rookies
Sandro Cortese used his considerable experience to win the 125 Grand Prix in variable conditions as rain showers dampened the circuit but ex Red Bull Rookies Luis Salom and Johann Zarco filled the other 2 podium places.
Crucially Zarco followed up his Japanese Grand Prix victory with another points scoring advantage over Championship leader Nico Terol who finished 6th and with 2 races remaining Terol now has just a 25 point lead with 50 still on offer.