2011 Phillip Island MotoGP Sunday Post-Race Press Releases - Including A Pile Of Championship Pressers
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Sunday's race at Phillip Island, including a pile of press releases from everyone involved in Stoner's riders championship and Honda's manufacturers' championship:
DAMIAN CUDLIN UNABLE TO TAKE START IN AUSTRALIA FOR MAPFRE ASPAR TEAM
Damage suffered in Saturday free practice crash denies home MotoGP start for Australian stand-in
Only fourteen riders took the start in the MotoGP Australian Grand Prix. The absence of Cudlin, Lorenzo and Spies from the starting grid made for a sparse startline image at Phillip Island, but there was still a race to be contested. With title rival Lorenzo out of action, Casey Stoner had a free run at victory at his home race. The Australian rounded off a dominant weekend with a runaway victory, in the process becoming MotoGP World Champion for 2011. The rain that had threatened to fall on track only did so in light quantities late on, and few riders chose to come in to change bikes after the white flag was shown.
Damian Cudlin, standing in for Héctor Barberá this weekend as the Spaniard recovers from injury, befell a similar fate to the regular MAPFRE Aspar rider at the Australian GP. The substitute rider didn't make the start for his home race, as the heavy crash of Saturday afternoon took its toll. A huge abrasion to his left side and a significant contusion to his hip meant that Cudlin had to sit out the event, having made a valiant attempt to participate in the warm-up to test his condition. He only managed a single lap before realising that racing would not be possible, and was taken immediately to the Clinica Mobile for an X-ray. Fortunately no fractures were suffered in his big crash, although Cudlin will head to hospital in Melbourne tomorrow in order to undergo further tests.
The next MotoGP race takes place this coming weekend, at Sepang in Malaysia.
Stoner does it in style for his second title with Bridgestone
Round 16: Australian GP – Race
Phillip Island, Sunday 16 October 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
Casey Stoner was crowned the 2011 MotoGP World Champion in Australia today with a characteristically dominant victory at Phillip Island, on his birthday, and marking a number of milestones including his second world crown.
His race victory means he now has five consecutive wins at his home circuit, making him the equal winningest rider here. This title is the first for Honda in the 800cc era, and he will go into the history books as both the first and last 800cc MotoGP World Champion after his first title in 2007, which was also the first on Bridgestone tyres.
Whilst Stoner ran away at the front, the race wasn't without drama as the rains threatened and a few riders fell victim to the changeable conditions. The white flag was shown on lap eight, signalling the pit lane was open for riders to change to the wet bikes as spots of rain started to fall, although the high winds soon moved these on so everyone remained on slicks. Just as the field looked settled though, the rain returned with four laps remaining. Stoner himself had a moment on the final corner but kept it upright whilst Hayden and Capirossi darted into the pits for their wet bikes on lap 24, and Abraham, Bautista, Crutchlow and Aoyama all crashed out although Abraham restarted.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"Congratulations Casey and Repsol Honda for a very well deserved World Championship! It was always going to be a special moment at his home race but Casey was the first World Championship on Bridgestone tyres and a big force in catapulting us to the front of MotoGP so we are especially happy to see him win in such fashion in front of 43,800 of his home fans. From all at Bridgestone Motorsport, we sincerely applaud the effort he and the team have put in all season and right from the start it was clear they would be a force to be reckoned with this year."
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"After a weekend of fine and dry weather, the race today saw the trickiest conditions for the riders and for our tyres as spots of rain started to fall in some places on the track but it was dry and sunny in other. This made it very difficult for the riders to judge the level of grip available, and unfortunately we saw five riders crash as a result. The temperature was cooler today and the wind much stronger which affected tyre performance. In the race six riders used the softer option rear slick we introduced in Australia this year, and I am very pleased that we selected softer rear compounds as they offered improved warm-up performance which was important as the weather got progressively cooler during the weekend."
Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner and 2011 World Champion
"I don't think I could fit more things in today! To win like this is really something special; words can't describe it. It's been pretty much a perfect season for us, and a big thank you to the team and to everyone. This weekend's been great for us, but the race threw a few curve balls. They were very, very tricky conditions and there were a few heart-in-mouth moments! I wanted to win this one. Not too many people have so many things align in one day and it's hard to get a hold of it. Maybe it was just meant to be, but it's something unbelievable."
ELIAS TAKES TOUGH 8th FINISH AT "THE ISLAND" GP
Phillip Island, 16 October: In a tough 25-lap race LCR Honda MotoGP racer Toni Elias finished 8th in today's Australian Grand Prix at cloudy and cold Phillip Island which was Stoner clinching the 2011 World Title ahead his national fans. The notorious unpredictable Island weather changed again during the premier class race with four riders crashing out in the last part when a rain shower hit the 4448km ocean track.
The Spaniard riding the LCR RC212V went through a tough weekend trying to fix his rear traction problems but today's lower track temperatures affected his performance. Elias suffered edge grip issues from the beginning but managed to finish the Grand Prix in the Top-10.
Elias – 8th: "This was a difficult race for us because the weather was pretty bad and in these conditions we always suffer very much. I can not warm up the rear tyre properly and since the beginning of the race I have suffered edge grip issues. We have been lucky because some riders crashed out in the last part of the race and we could finish in the top ten. Hopefully we can adjust the bike for next race in Sepang where the temperature is totally different".
"SUPER SIC" FINISHES SECOND BEHIND NEW WORLD CHAMPION STONER
Marco Simoncelli backed up his podium potential at Phillip Island with an excellent second place finish in the Australian Grand Prix today. Uncertain weather conditions throughout and in particular a heavy shower with just three laps remaining made for a tense finish but 'Super Sic' managed to overcome the late challenge of Andrea Dovizioso for the second successive race. Twenty points today lifts him to sixth in the championship, just 17 points shy of Ben Spies in fifth. Hiroshi Aoyama had put together a strong charge through the field but fell victim to the inclement conditions in the latter stages of an otherwise positive race.
Marco Simoncelli (2nd) "I am delighted! It was a really tough race with changeable conditions throughout and every time I saw raindrops on my visor I was unsure whether I could push or not. I managed to put a little gap on Dovizioso and Pedrosa but when the rain came Dovizioso was able to catch me and make a pass. I managed to stay with him and follow his lines so when the track was dry again on the last lap I was able to throw everything at him and make the pass. I had been second for the whole race and I didn't want to give up on it until the end. It was nice to finish directly behind the new World Champion. I feel sorry for Lorenzo and I hope he is fit and back on track again soon."
Hiroshi Aoyama (DNF) "It has been a very difficult race because of the strong winds and the mixed conditions. I really wanted to have a good race because these are my last few races in MotoGP but this weekend has been particularly difficult with the crash yesterday and then again today in turn nine when a sudden rain shower hit that part of the track. I am really disappointed and hope to make up for it next week in Malaysia."
Fantastic fifth for Edwards in windy Phillip Island
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Colin Edwards battled against the elements at Phillip Island this afternoon to storm to a fantastic fifth position in an Australian MotoGP round dominated by unpredictable weather.
British team-mate Cal Crutchlow was also on course for a brilliant top ten finish when he suffered an unfortunate crash in the final stages when a quick rain shower fell while he was locked in an exciting battle with Hiroshi Aoyama for eighth position.
The 27-lap race started in sunny but cool conditions but it was a fierce wind that made tackling the high-speed and technical 4.4km Phillip Island a tough challenge this afternoon.
Edwards finished the first lap in eighth place as he tried to judge the unpredictable gusts of wind to maintain a fast and consistent pace as the race unfolded. He was seventh when late drama occurred as a heavy rain shower soaked the track in a small section from Lukey Heights to the fast approach to the final corner with three laps remaining.
Edwards opted not to stay out on slicks rather than switch to his YZR-M1 set-up for the rain with only a small part of the track affected by the cloudburst. His decision paid off and he claimed his third top six finish of the season.
Crutchlow was unfortunately caught out by the tricky conditions in the final stages while he was preparing for a late attack on Aoyama.
The British rider had fought brilliantly to keep Karel Abraham and Randy de Puniet at bay when he hit a wet patch of tarmac at Lukey Heights on lap 24. Aoyama crashed in identical cir cumstances right in front of Crutchlow and the 25-year-old was unable to rejoin the race and collect a deserved top 10 finish.
Colin Edwards 5th 109-points:
"That was all about surviving because the conditions might have looked great on TV with the sun shining but the wind was horrendous. We know the wind plays a big part here normally but today it seemed particularly bad and it was impossible to judge when a gust was going to hit you from one lap to the next. I got into a pretty good rhythm and I was happy to be running a consistent pace in eighth when all the late chaos happened. It is never a good feeling when you see rain spots on the visor with slick tyres on but there was only rain in a small part of the track. I knew it was a flag-to-flag situation but I never thought about pulling in for the rain bike. I was just riding as hard as I could but a s safe as I could in the last couple of laps and fifth is a great result. I just want to say congratulations to Casey because he has been awesome all year and he's a worthy World Champion. As a fellow rider you have to admire what he's done."
Cal Crutchlow DNF 57-points:
"I'm pretty disappointed because it has been a very difficult weekend, so to get a top 10 would have been a very positive way to sign off. I'd been having a really good battle with Abraham, Aoyama and de Puniet and I was confident I was going to finish at least eighth. But I came into Lukey Heights and couldn't even see any rain and the next thing I was down. The weird thing is Aoyama went down right in front of me on the same wet patch, so it was like synchronised crashing. I had no idea why I'd crashed and someone in the crowd told me it had rained really quickly and then stopped. It is a pity because tha t cost me a decent result but I'll be looking to get back in the fight for the top 10 in Sepang next week. I tested twice at that track in the winter and while it was tough, I've gained so much experience since then that there's no reason why I can't have a strong weekend."
Hervé Poncharal – Team Manager:
"I am very happy for Colin because he did a great job in very demanding conditions. Like in Jerez and Silverstone when we had difficult conditions, Colin is always there. The fifth position was well deserved and this result is a great boost for his chances of finishing the top non-factory rider in the World Championship standings. I am a little bit disappointed on the other side of the garage because Cal knew this track and I thought he would have been a lot stronger here. But he found it very difficult to find a fast pace all weekend. I have to give him credit though becau se he never gave up and it was a dramatic race. His engine stopped on the grid but that didn't distract him and he had a very good fight with some experienced riders. I think sixth position would have been a possibility but he was caught out by the conditions and that was an easy thing to do. Other people made a mistake but we hope Cal can return stronger in Sepang, which is another track he has ridden on. Finally I'd like to say congratulations to Casey. He is shown this year what a phenomenal talent he is and he deserves to be World Champion. I'd also like to praise Jorge Lorenzo because he has shown that Yamaha is a very competiive package in MotoGP and he has produced some truly incredible performances to push Casey all the way."
Honda takes 2011 Constructor's Championship in Australia
Honda Motor Company won a record-extending 60th Constructors Championship with the victory by Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) in his home Grand Prix at Phillip Island. The points tally of 380 puts them out of reach from Yamaha in second place with two races remaining.
The 2011 MotoGP Constructors Championship was Honda's 18th in the premier class - five in MotoGP and thirteen in 500cc - to add to the six 350cc titles, nineteen in the 250cc class, fifteen in the 125cc class, and two in the 50cc category. With Stoner's ninth victory of the season, Honda riders have won 646 races, a number that's sure to continue growing.
The march into the record books began 50 years ago with Australian Tom Phillis winning the 1961 125cc GP in Montjuich, Spain, the first of four wins that season that would take him and Honda to their first titles in truly epic fashion. Also winning his first title that year was a young Brit named Mike Hailwood, one of the many legendary riders who have successfully teamed with Honda.
In 1966, forty-five years ago Honda won its first Constructor 500cc title and also took all five solo Constructors Championships (50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc), a feat which was never matched. Honda came close in 1994, winning all three Constructors Championships (125cc, 250cc and 500cc).
In 1982, Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) was born. In the seventh race of the season the new NS 3 cylinder machine won its first race with Freddie Spencer at the Belgian GP of Spa Francorchamps. In 1983, Freddie Spencer brought home the 500cc Rider´s Championship along with the second Constructor´s Title of the Top Class to Honda.
The roster of greats who rode Hondas to victory would take up pages. A partial list of the legends who contributed to both Constructor and Rider Championships for Honda includes Jim Redman, Phil Read, Mick Doohan, Max Biaggi, Eddie Lawson, Freddie Spencer, Alex Crivillé, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa, Ralph Bryans, and Daijiro Katoh. Now Casey Stoner joins this list.
Honda's current roster of World Champions all contributed to the Constructors Championship which is calculated by the result of the highest placed motorcycle of a Constructor, according to the position in the race. Casey Stoner had Honda's top result ten times. Despite missing four races due to injury, Dani Pedrosa was Honda's top points-earner five times, and Andrea Dovizioso contributed one top finish. A Honda rider has finished first or second in every race so far this season. (Qatar – Stoner 25, Spain – Pedrosa 20, Portugal – Pedrosa 25, France – Stoner 25, Catalunya – Stoner 25, Great Britain – Stoner 25, Netherlands – Stoner 20, Italy – Dovizioso 20, Germany – Pedrosa 25, USA – Stoner 25, Czech Republic – Stoner 25, Indianapolis – Stoner 25, San Marino – Pedrosa 20, Aragon – Stoner 25, Motegi – Pedrosa 25, Australia – Stoner 25).
Honda is the most successful company in the history of road racing due to a perfect blend of the top riders combined with the best engineers and technology.
Honda is an engineering company, whose legendary and innovative machines have attracted the best in the world. Machines that are the creation of some of a brilliant engineering corps, which had the bikes over to the dedicated globe-trotting race technicians who are overseen by passionate team managers who demand, and receive, excellence. Men like Shuhei Nakamoto, the vice-president of Honda Racing Corporation, whose laser-like focus, brutal honesty, and selfless dedication were instrumental in bringing Honda the final Championship of the 800cc era.
TETSUO SUZUKI - HRC PRESIDENT, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF HONDA R&D
"It is with great pride that I stand here on the day Honda takes its 60th Constructors Title. We have a very proud and long history since Mr. Soichiro Honda first declared to enter road racing in 1954, working hard to develop and produce the most innovative machines. It is a credit to our dedicated team who always strive to break boundaries and expand our engineering methods to create these wonderful bikes and to our talented riders with whom this feat would not have been possible. I would also like to thank all our sponsors and technical partners for their valuable support and input, it has been five years since we won our last Championship and I am honored to see that HRC is back and stronger than ever. Thank you to Casey, Dani and Andrea and all the team that work so hard, week in and week out, and also a very special thanks must go to all our fans across the globe, we appreciate every one of you".
SIXTH POSITION IN AUSTRALIA FOR DE PUNIET. CAPIROSSI NINTH COMING BACK FROM INJURY
Day full of surprises at Phillip Island, where climatic conditions have affected the outcome of the race today. On the positive side for the Pramac Racing Team that has achieved the best result of the season finishing sixth and ninth respectively with Randy De Puniet and Loris Capirossi. The Frenchman had a good start and was in eighth position until some rain has made him go wide and come back on track in the rear of the classification. Randy fought in the group and in the last few laps when the rain again became more intense on the track, he managed to ride well with his bike and finish in sixth place. Capirossi made a good start at being on the first corner in third place, but then he had to give away to faster riders at that time. With four laps to the end, when a heavy shower hit the tracke, Loris has tried to change bike with wet set, but the track wasn't wet enough and this denied him the opportunity to go beyond the ninth place. However, a good result looking ahead to the last two races of the season, in seven days in Malaysia and in Valencia in three weeks.
Fabiano Sterlacchini – Pramac Racing Technical Director
"Today we achieved the best result of the season even we must not denied ourselves because it was very influenced by the race itself, between the rain and the absence of the injured riders. Let's say that of all the times we were hit by bad luck and injuries, there is now good luck. We could collect more this year and we hope that this race could lead to a successful end of championship. Both Loris and Randy deserve it for all the effort they have put in."
Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing – 6th in the race – 16th in the championship
"I am very happy with how it went today. Yesterday we were very unlucky in qualifying session and today things have turned in our favor. At the beginning of the race I lost a little time to overtake Loris, but once I made it, while trying to reach Edwards and Hayden, a little bit of rain made me go wide and this made me lose about ten seconds. So I fought with the group for the ninth position until four laps left in the race when the rain was back on the track. I saw the other riders go as fast as if the track was dry and so I saw them slipping in front of me one by one. In addition, some rider have returned to the pits to change bikes, but I had confidence to continue with the bike with dry set up and this helped me to conclude in an excellent sixth place!"
Loris Capirossi – Pramac Racing – 9th in the race – 17th in the championship
"I started well but after a few laps between the pain at my shoulder and the weather changing I tried to manage the race to complete it. When there was four laps left I felt heavy heavy rain coming down just before the final straight and then I thought it was appropriate to enter the pits to change bike. Unfortunately it ended up not being the right choice because I probably could have finished the race a couple of positions ahead, but the ninth is still satisfactory considering my physical condition."
STONER WINS HONDA'S 18TH PREMIER CLASS CHAMPIONSHIP
Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner celebrated his 26th birthday with the best gift he could give himself, the 2011 MotoGP World Championship. Stoner sealed his second MotoGP title with his fifth victory in a row on his home track, the majestic Phillip Island Circuit south of Melbourne.
Stoner won the title by winning his ninth race of the year, while his only challenger, Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), was declared unfit to race after injuring his left hand in morning warm-up. Stoner finished the 16th round of the championship with an insurmountable points lead over Lorenzo, 325 to 260.
Stoner's ninth race win was especially meaningful coming on the track he loves most and in front of his fellow Aussies. It was here that he won his first premier class grand prix in 2007 en route to the 2007 MotoGP World Championship, the first of the 800cc era. Since then, he's won every Australian Grand Prix from the pole position, the five race wins bringing his career MotoGP total to 32, 11 more than the next closest rider in the 800cc era.
It was clear from the moment he first tested the Honda RC212V last November than he was a force to be reckoned with. Dazzlingly fast from the outset, Stoner dominated winter testing and continued that dominance into the season. He handily won the opening race of the season in Qatar, a race in which four of the top five finishers were aboard Hondas. Then came the lone blemish on an otherwise dream season when he was knocked out of the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez. But three races later, Stoner scored a brilliant win in the lashing rains of the British Grand Prix, regaining the championship points lead which he'd never relinquish.
Victory was elusive in the next three races-Assen, Mugello, and Sachsenring-before what may have been his greatest win of the season in the United States Grand Prix. Stoner made a breathtaking move around the outside of Lorenzo flat out over the crested kink left that is turn one at Laguna Seca. Watching from the track's edge was 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz, who said, "I think that was a statement; this is my championship and I am gonna make a pass on you right now that nobody would ever expect me to make."
Stoner went on to win the race and the next two, first in the Czech Republic, then back in America at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fatigue in Misano from an exhausting schedule prevented him from winning, but he was back on top in Aragon from the pole. Then came a third place finish in Honda's home grand prix at the Twin Ring Motegi after a front end shake caused a brake problem that sent him off the track.
What it all adds up to is a dream season. Other than the lone DNF in Spain, Stoner has been on the podium in every race. And he's also been on the front row in every race but one; he qualified fourth in Portugal.
For that, Casey Stoner is the 2011 MotoGP World Champion.
The 2011MotoGP World Champion said: "Everything that could happen happened today.I think the only thing that could happen that's better than this is having my child today, but I have to wait a little while for that. and that's something, I guess the next thing we're really looking forward to. Not too many people have the opportunity to have all these sort of things aligned, your home grand prix, your birthday. To have this many straight wins here and then a world championship, there's that many things in one day. It's hard to sort of take hold of it all.
Finally with the Honda we found that we had a fantastic package, so it was a chance for us to win the second championship.
The first title was a dream, the second one's reality. Definitely. The first one was a dream. It was hard to realize what had actually happened. But this one, we know we've had the chance to win it all season. the fact that we pulled back so many points to arrive at such a point lead and I think the whole team, myself, have done a great job on a new bike in a tough season."
Shuhei Nakamoto, the vice-president of Honda Racing Corporation said.
"The feeling is of course very happy, today I can relax little bit, because almost every night I wake up thinking about something, doing some memo to remember to check or do something... this is my first feeling after the race! I want to say to all Honda fans and sponsors, thank you very much for your support and especially to all Honda people and in particular to everyone at HRC and in Honda R&D centre. Then I'd like to thank the Repsol Honda Team crew, all of them! A big thanks to all our Honda riders that push each other during this season and achieved great results. Then of course I want to thank Casey Stoner. He did a great job since the first day he rode the RC212V and he brings great enthusiasm to everybody in HRC. Tonight we will celebrate, but starting from tomorrow morning we will start working again to finish this season at top, win the Team Championship and to prepare the 2013 new challenge with the 1000cc".
Stoner wins World Championship in all Honda podium
Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner has clinched the 2011 MotoGP World Championship title 2011 with a superb victory in the Australian Grand Prix, in front of 43,880 spectators who cheered him on his way to his ninth win of the season and the first World title for Honda in the 800cc era.
Andrea Dovizioso, third, returned to the podium for the first time since Brno, and Dani Pedrosa, fourth, just missed out after four podiums in a row. Honda occupied the top four spots today in Phillip Island with Stoner, Simoncelli, Dovizioso and Pedrosa.
With Jorge Lorenzo out of the race due to his injury sustained in warm up this morning, Stoner needed just 10 points to be crowned Champion, but he remained loyal to his style and secured his fifth consecutive win at Phillip Island within the first seven laps, after he managed to pull away and took an advantage of seven seconds from the rest of the field.
With the dominance of Stoner up front, the excitement moved to the group of Simoncelli, Dovizioso and Pedrosa in the fight for the podium and remained undetermined until the end when the rain came with four laps to the checkered flag . At that time, Andrea was three seconds ahead of Dani and caught Simoncelli, with whom he has fought for second place until the last lap.
Today, Honda also claimed their 60th Constructor's World Title and with the Rider's Title in Stoners' hands, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa maintain their fight for third place in the Championship. The Italian remains third, now four points ahead of Dani who is in fourth place.
CASEY STONER – 1st – World Championship Position: 1st with 325 points and New World Champion
"I don't think anyone could plan things to happen better than they have today! The race was incredibly difficult, the conditions we're very tough. I built up an early lead as I saw the rain coming in, but I wasn't sure if it would hit us. I basically ran into a wall of rain, there wasn't any warning at the back part of the circuit and I came into the last turn and the rain started hard. I nearly lost control and thought for sure I was going to end up in the gravel. I managed to control it and maintain the gap to everyone and thankfully bring it home for the win, but it was a little bit nerve-racking for sure. I'm really sorry that Jorge had the accident this morning, he's great competitor and I think if he'd been here racing today things might not have turned out the way they have, I hope his operation goes well and he's back racing as soon as he feels fit. I can't thank everyone enough , my team, Repsol, all our sponsors, everyone that has worked so hard all year, thank you!".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 3rd – World Championship Position: 3rd with 212 points
"It was a difficult race as we expected, this track is very tricky, as are the weather conditions. To return on the podium and arrive in front of Dani here at Phillip Island is a very good result for us and it was our target before getting here. I think we could have even finished in second position but when Dani overtook me in the middle of the race we lost contact with Simoncelli, then I retook the position when the rain came, but on the final lap I didn't have enough grip to push hard in the last few corners. Anyway we are still fighting for the third place in the Championship and I'm sure Dani will be strong in the last two races, but we will try to do our best until the end. Casey has had an amazing season, he is the fastest rider at the moment, so congratulations to him for the title".
DANI PEDROSA – 4th – World Championship Position: 4th with 208 points
"It's been very tough today, I didn't feel comfortable throughout the weekend and the race didn't start in the best way either. I had a problem with the wind at the start, I almost lost balance and I had to put the left foot on the floor at the same time as the red light went out, so I had a bad start. The first few laps were not so good, then I recovered slightly, I overtook Andrea and fought with him but the front tyre was finished in the last laps. When I tried to pull away I was loosing the front, so I couldn't keep him behind and then the rain arrived. It's not been a good weekend for me, I want to say congratulations to Casey for his title, he's been the strongest this season, always on the podium, with no mistakes, so he deserves it".
SHUHEI NAKAMOTO - HRC EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
"The feeling is of course very happy, today I can relax little bit, because almost every night I wake up thinking about something, doing some memo to remember to check or do something... this is my first feeling after the race! I want to say to all Honda fans and sponsors, thank you very much for your support and especially to all Honda people and in particular to everyone at HRC and in Honda R&D centre. Then I'd like to thank the Repsol Honda Team crew, all of them! A big thanks to all our Honda riders that push each other during this season and achieved great results. Then of course I want to thank Casey Stoner. He did a great job since the first day he rode the RC212V and he brings great enthusiasm to everybody in HRC. Tonight we will celebrate, but starting from tomorrow morning we will start working again to finish this season at top, win the Team Championship and to prepare th e 2012 new challenge with the 1000cc".
Casey Stoner crowded World Champion at home GP
Today Casey Stoner has claimed the MotoGP World Championship for the second time in his career by taking victory on home soil in the Australian Grand Prix.
Casey couldn't have dreamt a better way to accomplish it: in his first 'match point' of the season, dominating as he has done throughout the year, he scored the victory in front of his fans on the day of his 26th birthday.
A young Casey moved to England with his family just after his 14th birthday to follow his dream of riding in the premier category. Casey could not legally road race in Australia until he was 16, but had decided he was ready for the challenge, so the decision was made to move to England where Casey was already of legal age to race. A big risk to take, but it paid off.
He attracted immediate sponsorship after just one race in England and went on to take the English 125cc Aprilia Championship in 2000, his first year of road racing. Also in that year he raced in two rounds of the Spanish 125cc Championship, where he was noticed by Alberto Puig. Alberto was impressed by Casey's determination and skill and invited him to race for the Telefonica Movistar Team in the 125cc Spanish Championships the next year.
In 2001 Casey raced in both the English and Spanish Championships during the same year. Despite missing some English races due to clashes with Spanish rounds, he still managed to come second in both Championships. In that same year he was also granted wildcard entries into the MotoGP 125cc world series, in both England and Australia, his first visit to Phillip Island. He placed 18th and 12th respectively and as a result was offered a ride in the Grand Prix world series the next year for the Safilo Oxydo LCR team.
Straight onto a 250cc machine in his rookie year, and at only 16 years of age, Casey demonstrated his ability and speed with results. His best result for the year was a 5th at Brno as well as several 6th place finishes. In 2003 he went on to ride for Lucio and Safilo Oxydo LCR in the 125cc GP series and took four podium finishes and his first race win, in Valencia, at the end of the season. His first win in a GP race was a huge turning point for Casey and his career.
In 2004, at 18 years of age, Casey moved to KTM for a season where he helped to develop the team's 125cc bike into a winning machine. That year he made it to the podium six times and took KTM's first ever win in a GP class. 2005 saw Casey once again come back under the welcoming umbrella of Lucio Cecchinello's team, this time riding an official 250cc Aprilia. He spent 2005 battling it out with Dani Pedrosa for the championship, visiting the podium ten times in the process and taking wins in Portugal, Shanghai, Qatar, Sepang, and Istanbul.
Finally in 2006, at twenty years of age, Casey accomplished his long held ambition of racing in MotoGP, the fastest and most prestigious of the classes. He set pole position in his second MotoGP race in Qatar and battled for the win until the final corner in the GP of Turkey, finishing runner-up just a fraction behind winner Melandri. Too many errors conditioned the second part of the year, but Casey, in finishing eighth overall in his rookie MotoGP season, demonstrated that he was able to challenge amongst the elite group.
In 2007 Casey Stoner joined the Ducati Marlboro Team alongside Loris Capirossi, with whom he has struck up a good friendship. In his debut on the new bike at the first race of the year in Qatar he took victory. Then on September 23rd, in Japan, after a dominant season winning 10 races, Stoner secured his first MotoGP World Championship and became the second youngest premier-class World Champion, after American legend Freddie Spencer won his and Honda's first 500cc Rider's Championship in 1983, and at the time was 84 days younger than the 21 year old Stoner.
With two races remaining in the MotoGP World Championship, Casey has enjoyed a wonderful season to date with 9 victories, 1 second place, 5 third positions for a total of 15 podiums and 11 poles in his first season with the Repsol Honda Team. He has secured his second career World title and has become the first rider to have won the title twice in his first year on a new machine (in 2007 in his first year on a Ducati and in 2011 in his first season on an 800cc Honda). Casey has finished on the podium in every race except one (Jerez), where he was taken out in a racing incident.
In addition to these 15 podiums positions, Casey has also recorded new lap records at six circuits this season, he broke the records at Silverstone, Mugello, Indianapolis, Misano, Aragon and Motegi.
In his previous Championship winning year of 2007, Casey had 10 victories, 2 second places and 2 third places. He finished every race and his lowest ranking was 6th.
Casey has won a total of 39 Grands Prix since his debut in the 125cc category at the British GP at Donnington Park in 2001. His first win coming in 2003 at Valencia again in the 125cc class. 32 of these victories taking place in the premier class. He has enjoyed 78 podiums, 58 of which have been in MotoGP and 37 poles, 33 in MotoGP.
Since his debut in MotoGP in 2006, Casey has won 32 Grands Prix making him the most successful rider of the last six seasons and 5th overall in premier class victories, behind Rossi (79), Agostini (68), Doohan (54) and Hailwood (37).
CASEY STONER – 2011 MotoGP World Champion
"It's an incredible day, we've been waiting for it for sometime now and we knew we had the opportunity to make it happen here. This morning's crash of Jorge was not the manner in which we wanted to win, no racer would ever wish this on anyone else especially someone I respect this much and I wish him a safe and speedy recovery. Going into the race we had the momentum and it was more or less our Championship to lose so we were going to do everything we could to win the race today, but to come away with the Championship today is just fantastic. A huge thanks to Honda, my team, all our sponsors especially Repsol and everyone that has worked so hard this year, it's a great achievement for us. Now for the remaining few races I just want to enjoy my racing and enjoy knowing that I'm World Champion".
Yamaha Factory Riders to Miss Australian Grand Prix
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will not ride in today's Grand Prix of Australia following separate on track incidents by both.
World Champion Lorenzo was declared unfit to race after sustaining an injury to the fourth finger of the left hand during this morning's warm up. He will travel to Melbourne to undergo plastic surgery to repair the damage. A post surgery report will follow.
Lorenzo's team mate Spies received a hit to the head yesterday during the qualifying session after a high speed crash. After attempting to ride some laps in this morning's warm up, the rider reached an agreement with team members that with reduced concentration attempting the race would be considered too dangerous for himself and other competitors.
Karel Abraham finishes in tenth position despite crashing in the race
Although Cardion AB Motoracing rider Karel Abraham crashed at the circuit in Phillip Island, he was able to rejoin the race and eventually finished the Australian Grand Prix in tenth position.
Starting from the fifth row on the grid, the twenty one years old Czech rider finished the first lap in eleventh position and then started to battling with three other riders for tenth position. "My start wasn't very good, but then I overtook some riders and stayed in contact with the rest of the field."
When the nine times world champion Valentino Rossi crashed out of the race, Karel Abraham overtook Randy de Puniet and moved up to eighth position.
"It was a fun to battle with other riders for the entire race," Karel Abraham, who was caught by the tricky conditions in the last stage of the race while he was preparing for the final attack on Cal Crutchlow and other two riders, said. "Unfortunately, we didn't knew that the part of the track was soaked by heavy rain and then we crashed in identical circumstances."
While other two riders were unable to rejoin the race, Cardion AB Motoracing rider got back on board his Ducati Desmosedici GP11 and crossed the finish line in tenth position.
"I'm glad I was able to finish the race in tenth position. Points for this race are very important for us," Karel Abraham added, referring to the battle for the Rookie of the Year award between him and Cal Crutchlow.
ROSSI FALLS WHILE CHARGING FORWARD AT PHILLIP ISLAND, HAYDEN SEVENTH
The Australian Grand Prix, which was marked by a number of incidents related to the unpredictable weather, saw Valentino Rossi fall on the fourteenth lap. He was in fifth place at the time, having started from the fourth row.
After a good start from the second row, the American was involved in a number of nice battles in the first part of the race, lapping at a competitive pace. When it began raining hard four laps from the end of the race, making the conditions particularly tricky, Nicky Hayden changed motorcycles and went on to cross the finish line in seventh place.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th
"Conditions were really tough today, with wind and rain off-and-on at different parts of the track. My start actually wasn't amazing, but I think everybody else got away worse than I did. I was in a good position, but I really had no grip at the rear from the very beginning, and although I tried as hard as I could, I couldn't defend much when guys started coming past. Eventually I blistered the rear tyre and was just trying to make it to the finish, and then when it started to rain harder, it felt really slick. I just about lost it, and when I saw Bautista go down, I decided to come in and change bikes rather than risk doing the same. It's another seventh place, but I was closer to the front than I've been in most races. I felt good apart from a few places, like Turn 6, and the bike was fast. We'll try to base our future work on those positives."
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) DNF
"The crash was really a shame because I could have finished fifth. After a pretty good start, I lost some ground to Nicky and Bautista, but then I found my rhythm and managed to get them both. Unfortunately, I lost the front when I passed Alvaro, and I'm really disappointed because I didn't expect it. Evidently, despite all our hard work, we still haven't solved this problem. Anyway, both in Japan and here, we could have collected some good points, and instead we leave with none. That said, we're still working, and we'll have a number of important things to try in the next tests."
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
"Just like at the Japanese Grand Prix, there are also positives to consider here in Australia, despite the fact that it was a challenging weekend. Vale struggled in the practice sessions, but he was fast in this morning's warm-up. He also found a good rhythm in the race and had climbed as high as fifth place when he fell. Nicky had his best qualifying session of the season, he started the race well and we saw him have some good battles in the early laps. We expected something more here in Australia, but we're also aware that we're working on a number of different fronts in these races, gathering information that will be useful in the future."