Valencia MotoGP: Casey Stoner romps to final race victory

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Casey Stoner ended the 2008 MotoGP campaign just as he started the season with a dominant performance to take his sixth win of the season in Valencia.

Stoner cruised to his 23rd career victory - a win that moves him level with British legend Barry Sheene – after he’s quickly disposed of home favourite and 2007 Valencia winner Dani Pedrosa.

His win by nearly 3.4s was the 150th for Australian’s in world championship racing and it took his point’s haul to 280 points in 2008. That is a record for a series runner-up and 28-points than new team-mate Nicky Hayden managed to clock in his 2006 title winning campaign.

Stoner said his positive end to the season was the perfect tonic ahead of his left wrist operation later this week, but and he said he is determined to mount a more serious threat for the world title in 2009.

He said: “Next year I’d like to try and attack again but as for a defence I don’t think I did a very good job. Other than the first race I wasn’t leading the world championship at any stage during it, other than after the first race in Qatar, so I was the one attacking the whole time.

"Going into next year we want to try and get everything 100 per cent. This is definitely the best way we could have hoped to finish the season. To end a difficult season in this way is a fantastic feeling and it's a nice way to thank everybody at Ducati for their hard work.

"This was the first time we've ridden in these conditions all weekend so there were still a few question marks before the race, so to go out and set the pace like that was a nice feeling.

"On race tyres nobody really knew where they were and I’m sure a lot of people were still finding solutions in morning warm-up and we seemed to destroy our tyre in warm-up. That made us a bit worried before the race and we didn’t know what to expect with tyre performance.

"We were just going to go out there as hard as we could and see how long it lasted. We managed to keep the pace up and we found a setting that I don’t think we could have got so good if we had worked all weekend. We were lucky to stumble across that and the bike was working perfectly.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt