After taking pole and being fastest at warm-up Sunday morning, the Australian Casey Stoner took his fourth consecutive-home win after leading every lap Phillip Island, Round 16 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
Joining him on a surprisingly sunny podium were the Fiat Yamaha pair of 2010 Champion Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. With their podium MotoGP finishes, Yamaha clinched the 2010 Manufacturer’s Championship with two rounds remaining.
As for the Ducati Team rider Stoner, he bumped Rossi in the MotoGP championship, taking over the third spot. He has now won three races out of the last four after taking the Iveco Australia Grand Prix before a crowd of over 41,000 fans.
Casey Stoner says: “This feels really nice. I think when I won two in a row here nobody expected me to make it three but having done that I felt there was a lot of expectation on me today. To be fair we have been going for the win at the last four races – unfortunately I slipped off on the first lap at Sepang but we’ve made up for that this weekend.”
“Everything has gone well for us, we have been happy with the bike from the first practice and the support from the fans has been fantastic. I have to admit that before the race I was feeling the pressure, I was more nervous than I normally am but maybe I should be like that more often because I didn’t make mistakes! I am really happy with the way I rode today but every single person in the team has done a great job this weekend so my thanks go to them and I hope we can keep it going to the end of the season.”
Stoner would take the checkered flat 8.598 seconds ahead of Lorenzo, who clinched the MotoGP title at last weekend’s race in Malaysia. The Spaniard, who started from second on the Phillip Island grid between Stoner and his future teammate Ben Spies, now has 14 podium finishes out of 16 races, which includes seven wins.
Also, Sunday’s race was Lorenzo’s 50th MotoGP start, and he had 32 podium finishes in those races.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “We knew Casey would be hard to beat today! I tried my best, riding as hard as I could at the start and occasionally it seemed like I was closing a little bit, but then on the next lap Casey would extend his lead again by a few tenths. I kept trying but I didn’t have much hope and half way through I decided it was better not to take risks. I really enjoyed riding here and sliding a bit on my M1, it was fun but this was Casey’s race today.”
“It was good to be on the podium and now we are heading back and I have my first chance to go home to Mallorca as MotoGP World Champion and to celebrate with my friends and family. Today we won the Teams’ Title and this shows what a great season it has been for us all, with everyone working at the maximum.”
After only being able to place his Yamaha M1 on eight during qualifying in Australia, Rossi finally got the MotoGP bike set up to take the final podium spot. His bike was up to par, but not nearly as fast as Stoner and Lorenzo, considering he finished 9.399 seconds behind his teammate.
But like his battle at Motegi MotoGP for third with his teammate, but not as animated, Rossi fought hard with Ducati Team GP10 rider Nicky Hayden. The future teammates battle was intense, and Hayden got him on the Honda Hairpin, but on the last lap Rossi would take Hayden by 0.038 of a second.
Valentino Rossi says: “To start eighth and finish third is not a bad result and, considering the trouble we had this weekend, we can be happy. Today Casey was riding in a different sport and I want to say congratulations to him – the podium was the maximum for us but it was still a hard fight to get there.”
“We made some good changes to our set-up this morning and I knew I had a better chance, but we still lacked grip and the bike started to slide a lot after a bit. I had great fun with Nicky at the end because in some places he was faster than me and I really had to push, but the podium here is so important for me and I couldn’t give it up easily.”
“This is my 13th MotoGP podium in 14 years racing at Phillip Island and I am very proud of this record. We have had three podiums in a row, including one win, and after this difficult season I am happy about this. Today we won the Team title and I am happy for us all and for Yamaha.”
Hayden’s fourth-place finish was earned, as the Kentucky Kid passed rookies Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Gresini Honda) and Spies and then Rossi on the first lap. Hayden, who started from sixth on the grid, would eventually swap position with the riders he had passed, but would be taken by Rossi on the final lap.
Taking his eight top-five finish of the season, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Spies secured the MotoGP Rookie of the Year award. He piloted his M1 up front ahead of Simoncelli and Hayden on lap five, but a braking mistake at the notoriously fast Turn 1 would bring him back to sixth.
As the battle out front between Rossi and Hayden intensified, Spies set his eyes on Simoncelli for fifth position at Phillip Island, and ultimately the Rookie Championship. On lap 23 he would take Simoncelli, and finish just under three seconds ahead of the Italian.
The top-ten MotoGP finishes were taken by Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Aleix Espargara (Pramac Racing), Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda).
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was the only rider to DNF due to technical problems on his RC212V. This made for only 14 riders finishing, considering the usual 17-rider grid was lacking Dovi’s teammate Dani Pedrosa, who was unfit to ride due to his accident at Motegi two weeks ago, and Rizla Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi, who sustained a groin injury in a qualifying session crash.
Both Pedrosa and Capirossi are expected to compete at Estoril for the Portuguese Grand Prix on Oct. 31, the penultimate round of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
2010 MotoGP Results: Phillip Island, Australia
|1.||25||27||Casey STONER||AUS||Ducati Team||Ducati||175.1||41’09.128|
|2.||20||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Fiat Yamaha Team||Yamaha||174.5||+8.598|
|3.||16||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Fiat Yamaha Team||Yamaha||173.8||+17.997|
|4.||13||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||173.8||+18.035|
|5.||11||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||173.5||+22.211|
|6.||10||58||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||173.3||+25.017|
|7.||9||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||172.6||+35.168|
|8.||8||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||171.9||+46.194|
|9.||7||33||Marco MELANDRI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||171.9||+46.294|
|10.||6||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||171.0||+59.635|
|11.||5||36||Mika KALLIO||FIN||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||171.0||+59.664|
|12.||4||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||171.0||+59.732|
|13.||3||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||Interwetten Honda MotoGP||Honda||170.6||+1’05.029|
|14.||2||40||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Paginas Amarillas Aspar||Ducati||170.6||+1’05.053|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||165.8||24 Laps|