Casey Stoner’s love affair with the spectacular Phillip Island track continued when he romped to a stunning sixth successive victory on home soil. The Repsol Honda rider could not have scripted his farewell appearance in front of a record breaking crowd any better as he led from the second lap to finish close to 9.5 seconds clear of newly crowned world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
With Stoner retiring immediately after the final round in Valencia next month, he got a rapturous and memorable reception from his home crowd after dominating the 27-lap race. His winning performance, which ensures he retires undefeated at Phillip Island since 2007, capped a remarkable day for Australia in the paddock, with Arthur Sissis taking his first podium with third in the Moto3 race. And Anthony West fought his through to snatch a last gasp second in the Moto2 race.
Stoner said: “I made a shocking start. I was disappointed because I felt confident but Dani (Pedrosa) and Jorge came past me immediately and then the first couple of turns I was just blocking making sure I didn’t drop any more positions. I followed them for a few corners and I realized I had some pace on them so my goal was to get past as quick as possible. It was difficult to get past Jorge but then Dani made my job easy. It was his job to go out and win and get as many points as he could over Jorge and unfortunately he made a mistake. As soon as I saw Dani go out I knew Jorge had nothing to lose and I was expecting him to hold on to my coat tail for a bit. I wanted to see what I had to do to build that gap and manage the tires. We ran the softer compound rear tire, which I don’t normally like on this circuit. Usually it is detrimental at the end of the race and it can crush all your dreams very quickly. I had to control everything at the front and luckily my team gave me a bike to do that.”
Casey Stoner described the crowd at Phillip Island as “special and unique” but the warm reception wasn’t enough to convince him to continue racing.
Stoner described the reception he got on the podium was ‘special and unique’ but he was adamant that nothing will convince him that his decision to walk away from racing at the age of 27 is the wrong one.
He added: “The crowd was something special and unique. I’ve seen it quite a few times but not for me and it was fantastic in Australia to see so many people out there. The Australian riders gave everybody so much to cheer about today with a third, a second and a win in three classes. It was unreal. I’m sure they were pumped up before the MotoGP race and then finally I gave them something extra to cheer about. It was an amazing day.”
Stoner also hailed his title successor Lorenzo after the Spaniard wrapped up his first title since 2010 with a safe ride to second. The factory Yamaha rider has been the model of consistency in 2012 and in the 16 races he has finished he is yet to finish any lower than second.
Double MotoGP world champion Stoner said: “Jorge has ridden an unbelievable championship season and he deserves it without a doubt.”