Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi made sure it was a day to celebrate for the Italian marque as their one-two finish helped cinch both the teams’ and constructors’ titles.
With the victory today in front of 50,425 of his Australian countrymen, Stoner joins MotoGP legends Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner as the only world champions to have won a Grand Prix race on home soil in Australia.
“Being up on the podium was just unbelievable, I’ve never felt anything like it. I’ve been working very hard for a lot of years trying to win here. This whole season has been magical for us, we came here with a lot less pressure after winning the title in Japan, so I could really enjoy this race. It’s definitely my best victory so far,” Stoner said.
Stoner’s Marlboro Ducati teammate Loris Capirossi gets an assist for his part in enabling Ducati and his team to sweep the titles this season. Capi T-Rex was in fifth after the first lap but moved up through the field to secure the second step on the podium. The Italian racer earned a spot atop the rostrum for the second consecutive race after winning the last contest at Motegi.
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi continued to grace the podium at Phillip Island, making his tenth consecutive trip today with his third place finish. He did clock the fastest lap of the day but dry and sunny conditions made tire deterioration a factor for many riders, including the five-time world champion. Rossi remains in the runners-up spot in the World Championship with a 29-point advantage over Dani Pedrosa with two races left.
Repsol Honda did not have the results they anticipated going into today’s race. Riders Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden started from the first and fourth positions respectively, but Pedrosa struggled with tire deterioration in the late stages of the contest and Hayden had to retire on Lap 13 due to engine problems. Hayden was in the mix early, pursuing Stoner for first place and dicing near the front of the pack until his bike failed him.
Loris Capirossi and Valentino Rossi diced for much of the race and when the smoke off the rubber tires settled it was the Marlboro Ducati rider who came out on top.
Pramac D’Antin’s Alex Barros rode a solid race and rounds out the top five, giving Ducati three out of the top five positions. He was followed by Kawasaki Racing’s Randy de Puniet. The Frenchman held off the threats of Rizla Suzuki’s John Hopkins to claim the highest finish for Kawasaki in the premier race class at Phillip Island.
Hopkins got off to a flying start, shooting up to eighth place from 14th on the grid by the end of the first lap. Tire conservation prevented him from moving up much more, but the American still managed his best finish at Phillip Island, seventh place.
His Rizla Suzuki teammate Chris Vermeulen also posted an impressive charge through the field. Vermeulen was able to secure an eighth place finish after starting in 16th. He engaged in a spirited four-way battle with Carlos Checa, Colin Edwards and Anthony West, eventually coming out on top. The Rizla team struggled during practice and qualifying but found the right setup on race day, allowing its talented duo to place competitively.
Fiat Yamaha’s Edwards would end up in ninth place, while Gresini Honda’s Marco Melandri grabbed the final spot in the top ten.
The penultimate round of the MotoGP season heads to Malaysia next weekend for the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
MotoGP: Phillip Island Sunday Race Results
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) AUS 41’12.244
2. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) ITA 0’6.763
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) ITA 0’10.038
4. Daniel Pedrosa (Honda) ESP 0’11.663
5. Alex Barros (Ducati) BRA 0’19.475
6. Randy De Puniet (Kawasaki) FRA 0’27.313
7. John Hopkins (Suzuki) USA 0’29.243
8. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) AUS 0’34.883
9 Colin Edwards (Yamaha) USA 0’35.073
10. Marco Melandri (Honda) ITA 0’36.971
11. Carlos Checa (Honda) ESP 0’37.721
12. Anthony West (Kawasaki) AUS 0’38.426
13. Shinya Nakano (Honda) JPN 0’47.430
14. Sylvain Guintoli (Yamaha) FRA 0’54.324
15. Toni Elias (Honda) ESP 1’10.471
16. Makoto Tamada (Yamaha) JPN 1’12.904
17 Kenny Roberts (KR212V) USA 1’13.020
Championship Point Standings
1. Stoner 322
2. Rossi 230
3. Pedrosa 201
4. Hopkins 165
5. Vermeulen 160