Casey Stoner Honored In Ceremony To Rename Turn 3 At Phillip Island "Stoner Corner"
Casey Stoner now has been granted one of the highest honors a motorcycle racer can have bestowed upon him: to have a corner named after him. In a ceremony held on Thursday at Phillip Island, Andrew Fox, on behalf of the circuit owners Linfox Properties, announced the official renaming of Turn 3 at Phillip Island to Stoner Corner, adding the Australian's name to those of Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan, who have the main straight and Turn 1 named after them. The corner renaming ceremony was to honor Stoner's role in Australian motorcycle racing, his two World Championships (in 2007 and 2011) and his string of victories (five in a row) at the Phillip Island circuit. Turn 3 was selected because Stoner has proven to be something very special through that corner, offering one of the most spectacular sights in motorcycle racing, sliding both front and rear tires through the 260 km/h corner.
Stoner told the crowd gathered at the ceremony that he was very proud to have the corner named after him. "It was a special moment when I was informed of it," he said. Speaking after the press conference, he told the media it was a very special feeling. "It was very nice to be honored with this, not just any corner or any straight, but this corner was actually very significant to my career." Stoner said. "The fact that we do something different through there to everybody else, that was something very special," Stoner explained, speaking of the importance of the corner to his speed at Phillip Island. "I think part of the secret for me around here is the way I attack that corner, and you know it was very nice of them to honor me with that. A big privilege." The reality of the situation would not sink at the moment, Stoner said, as he was far too focused on this weeknd. "I think it will sink in more in later years when I'm watching the races around here and the commentator don't say turn 3 any more, it will be my turn, so it'll be nice."
Stoner went on to speak at length about the corner which has been renamed after him, and how he approaches Turn 3, or as it is now to be known, Stoner Corner: "We have an attitude that we attack that corner with that nobody else has been able to, to go in there with the confidence that no one else has been able to overcome," Stoner said. But it had not always been that way. In the early years, it had been one of the corners which caused him the most problems: "It's a very tricky corner, it was always probably my Achilles heel around this place, and I decided I wanted to get on top of that, I wanted to defeat it. Now it's probably the area of the track that I took the most time, and the way we go through there is somewhat different to everyone." From being one of his weak points, it had become one of his strongest points, and one of the highlights of his racing year, Stoner said. "It's now probably one of my favorite turns, if not my favorite turn in the world. To have it named after me is something extremely special."
At the ceremony, there was much talk of Stoner's scorching lap in qualifying in 2011. Stoner gave some insight into that both that lap and his approach to the corner, though he did not yet want to reveal all of his secrets. "Maybe after this weekend I'll reveal why I go through there like I do. I don't want to give too much away at the moment," Stoner said. But the difficulty of the corner and the speed at which you had to approach it were what made it special for him, the Australian explained. "It's a very difficult turn, it puts a lot of weight on the front tire, and with the wind that's normally coming from the inside, it sort of wants to push you off and make you wash out. In fifth gear, washing the front is not the nicest feeling." His 2011 qualifying lap had been something special, Stoner said. "Last year in qualifying, it was probably my best run through there I've ever had. I was only off the throttle for less than half a second, and then straight back on it again, we had nice good grip, plenty of fresh tire, went through there, entered about 265 km/h, the slowest point of the corner I was at 258 km/h, so we're fairly motoring through there. That was by far my best run through that turn. I still remember it, still remember the feeling getting through there that quick. "
Stoner's confidence through that corner was made evident when he was asked after the press conference whether he thought he was really the fastest man through that particular corner. "Without a doubt," the Australian replied.