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'Fairytale' final home win for Casey Stoner
29 October 2012
Casey Stoner completed the final chapter of his Phillip Island fairytale by winning his home race for the sixth successive time, on his last Australian MotoGP appearance before retirement.
The double world champion made his comeback from ankle surgery two rounds earlier, and hadn't won since Laguna Seca in mid-July, before his Indianapolis injuries.
But the 27-year-old was in a class of his own from the very first Friday laps at Phillip Island, despite a fall in qualifying, with the race soon turning into a demonstration ride.
Stoner took the lead when Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa slid off just in front of him on lap two and went on to win by over nine-seconds from Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, who secured his second world title.
A huge, cheering Australian crowd, many attending to see Stoner's final home race, then swarmed onto pit lane for the podium ceremony.
“My time's counting down now and in the last three races we've gone fifth, third and now first,” smiled Stoner.
“It was very important for me to win a race before I retire and to do it at my home grand prix here was just fairytale.
“This whole weekend has gone almost ideally. The crowd of people, fans has just been amazing. I've never seen Cowes so busy.
“I know a big part of the reason they are here is to watch me ride. So it gives me a great feeling and great pride to be out there, as an Aussie, and making everybody proud.
“It was just a fantastic day today. So we've just topped off the end of a difficult year and I think there's no better way to do it than in front of your home crowd.
“A crowd this big and this enthusiastic is something else.”
The Australian fans enjoyed a dream day of racing, with Arthur Sissis third in Moto3, then Anthony West second in Moto2, followed by Stoner's victory.
Stoner, who will make now his final grand prix appearance in the Valencia season finale on November 9-11, also offered his congratulations to Lorenzo and condolences to Pedrosa.
"My biggest congratulations to Jorge, he's ridden an almost perfect season finishing 1st or 2nd when possible and I'm just disappointed not to be in the championship fight, but I made my own mistakes and this is how things go," he said.
"My condolences to Dani - I saw him crash out in front of me - but he had to push today and go out and win the race to keep his championship hopes alive. It was a small mistake, easy to do in that corner and I feel very sorry for him."
Now certain to finish third in the standings, Stoner has won five races this year and a sixth would put him equal for the season with Lorenzo and Pedrosa.
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