Casey Stoner triumphs in Ducati’s 100th race

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Casey Stoner could not have picked a better time to make a return to winning ways as he stormed to a dominant victory in front of his home fans at Phillip Island today.

Stoner ended his recent barren run with a fifth win of 2008 that came in Ducati’s 100th MotoGP race as he survived early pressure from Nicky Hayden to cruise to his 15th premier class victory.

The Aussie hadn’t claimed a victory since a rain-lashed German GP at the Sachsenring in July, but he never looked in any major doubt as he led from start to finish to notch his second successive win at Phillip Island.

Having claimed pole position yesterday, Stoner said: “This weekend has been a bit like the whole season – up and down! Thankfully it’s finished on a high and it’s a great feeling to win my home Grand Prix in front of all these wonderful fans, with my family here too.

“That’s largely down to the hard work of my team because we’ve had some issues with the bike here but today it felt great and I was able to push hard from the first lap. Sometimes at this track you can have the best pace but still get dragged into a battle but I was able to get away, even though Nicky chased me hard for a long time before eventually dropping off and giving me some breathing space.

“It’s been a great year for me and even though we haven’t won the title I feel proud of our achievements. If we can battle for the championship again next year that would be great but for now I’m just going to enjoy winning my home GP.”

Ducati team boss Livio Suppo said: “Casey was fantastic and he truly deserved to win here at Phillip Island. Today’s victory is really very special and comes after a few difficult races for him. I am very happy that he has been successful here of all places, in front of his fans. And it is also the best way for us to celebrate our one hundredth race in MotoGP.

“Since the podium in the first race in Suzuka up to today, we have experienced unforgettable moments and difficult days, but we still have the same enthusiasm and have always demonstrated to be a united team. Thanks to everyone in Ducati Corse who in these past six years have worked hard both at the track and back at the factory to make all of this possible.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt