Stoner Claims Victory Before Home Crowd
PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia — Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner rode a flawless race Sunday as he romped to his sixth successive victory at his home track at this weekend’s AirAsia Australian Grand Prix.
Fans came out in droves to say farewell to Stoner, who is retiring at the end of the season, with a record attendance at the popular track.
And despite not making the best start, Stoner was in the lead within three laps and dominated until the checkered flag. This was his fifth win of the 2012 season and the 45th of his career, with 38 of them in MotoGP.
“It was very important for me to win a race before the end of the season and I’m really happy to do it here, at home, in front of the huge crowd,” said Stoner. “My biggest worry was to be fit again and competitive for this race, but we managed it and we had something over everyone else and this was the perfect way to say goodbye here. I was pretty nervous going into the race but the conditions were fantastic for a Phillip Island race! When I knew I only had a few laps left and a big lead, I was watching the crowd and it was fantastic to see everyone cheering me on, it made me very proud to be Australian.”
The victory came on a day when his teammate, Dani Pedrosa’s hopes of championship slipped away with Jorge Lorenzo finishing second and claiming his second MotoGP World title with one race remaining this season.
Yamaha riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso finished third and fourth with Alvaro Batista fifth on a Honda.