Valencia MotoGP: Casey Stoner leaves Ducati on podium
Casey Stoner’s bid to end his Ducati career in winning fashion was thwarted in Valencia yesterday by a virtuoso performance from 2010 world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
The Aussie led for the opening 22-laps before he came under attack from Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha.
Unable to respond to the Spaniard’s onslaught, Stoner settled for second in his final ride for Ducati before he joins Honda’s official factory team for 2011.
The 2007 world champion said: “The lap times we were doing in practice and qualifying sort of covered up a lot of problems people didn’t see behind the scenes.
"I was cautious going into the race. We knew it wasn’t going to be how everybody thought it was going to be and we just tried to get the best start we could, because we knew if we were back in the pack a little bit with the hard tyre we chose.
"We were struggling to warm up the tyre a little bit. So if we were back behind a few people I think I’d have struggled to overtake and get through to the front. I was just braking as hard as I could, going as deep as I could into the corners to make sure nobody was coming past me.
"I was trying not to make mistakes and trying to keep my corner speed and my lap times still consistent. I had a lot of pressure coming from behind but I just tried to do everything we could and as best as I could.
"I saw that Jorge was quite a way back at the start and I knew that he’d been running some pretty good lap times to be able to catch up. So I knew it was only a matter of time before he made a move and tried to get past.
"I did everything I could to try to block, but it was inevitable that Jorge was going to come past. And from that moment I just tried to hang onto him, but there was no chance.”
Stoner paid tribute to Lorenzo after the double world 250GP champion claimed a ninth win of the 2010 campaign and he added: Hat’s off to Jorge. He’s won this championship and proved why he’s world champion again, similar to the last race in Portugal.
"I’ve just got to look forward to next year and I think this is a great way to sign off with Ducati.”
See Wednesday’s (November 10) issue of MCN for more coverage on the Valencia MotoGP race.