Ducati’s Casey Stoner worked hard to get his first ever Jerez podium result on Sunday.
Not normally happy with third place finishes Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner was a relieved man after the Gran Premio bwin.com de España concluded on Sunday, as he stepped onto the rostrum at the Spanish venue for the first time.
Stoner finished 11th at Jerez last year after he qualified seventh and ran off track during the race, but he made a breakthrough at the MotoGP Official Test this winter at the Andalusian circuit with his Desmosedici GP9 and he cashed in at round three to stay in the championship chase.
3rd – Casey Stoner Speaks…
"It has been a long, long time coming," Stoner said afterwards. "We have had some difficult races here but fortunately this wasn’t one of them. It was still a very hard race but for us to be in with a shot at the podium was better than we expected beforehand."
"Jorge started to catch me so I thought I would dig in and try a bit harder for those last few laps and we managed to keep the gap the same. I think Jorge tried a little bit harder to catch me and he went down, so it was a difficult race for all of us. I lost the front end myself a few times but I was lucky enough to save them, so hopefully in future races I won’t be pushing quite as hard as that!"
Stoner ran in third for most of the race after getting away well from third on the grid to spend the early laps in second place, before being overtaken by racewinner Valentino Rossi on his charge to victory. Explaining his tactics, Stoner commented, "We knew Jorge (Lorenzo) and Dani (Pedrosa) had a good pace and we knew from the warm-up that Valentino (Rossi) had a good pace so we just tried to stay in there for as long as we could."
Admitting that he had not been 100% comfortable during the final stages of the race, which was watched by more than 120,000 fans at trackside.