Stoner’s Race, Lorenzo’s Title

Henny Ray Abrams | October 28, 2012

PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA, OCT 28 – Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner won for a record sixth time in a row at his home circuit on Phillip Island on a day when there was much to celebrate.

It was a banner day for Australia, with Stoner winning the MotoGP race, Anthony West finishing second in Moto2, and Arthur Sissis getting his first podium in only his 15th Moto3 race.

Yet it was an equally important day for Spain. Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo finished second to Stoner to win his second MotoGP World Championship. He was more or less guaranteed the title when Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa crashed in the Honda hairpin on the second lap. And a year after Marc Marquez’s career was put in doubt by a heavy crash in Malaysia, the Spanish teen-ager rebounded to win the Moto2 World Championship.

But the sun-drenched record crowd of over 53,000 came to see Stoner win the Australian Grand Prix and he delivered. After Pedrosa fell Stoner went into the lead and sped away. Lorenzo had no reason to match him, nor could he. His second was secure early on, as was the championship.

Stoner’s sixth consecutive PI win came with a 9.223 margin of victory.

“It was very important for me to win a race before the end of the season and I’m really happy to do it here, at home, in front of the huge crowd,” Stoner said. “My biggest worry was to be fit again and competitive for this race, but we managed it and we had something over everyone else and this was the perfect way to say goodbye here. I was pretty nervous going into the race, but the conditions were fantastic for a Phillip Island race. When I knew I only had a few laps left and a big lead, I was watching the crowd and it was fantastic to see everyone cheering me on, it made me very proud to be Australian.

“My biggest congratulations to Jorge [Lorenzo]. He’s ridden an almost perfect season finishing first or second 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. My condolences to Dani [Pedrosa] -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 this corner and I feel very sorry for him. Thanks to everyone for coming down and showing their support.”

Said Lorenzo, “What a day! I’m very happy. It was easier than I expected because Dani (Pedrosa) made a mistake in a corner and crashed. I wanted to keep with Casey (Stoner), but he was so strong. Today all I had to do was finish the race and I have become world champion for the second time. It’s such a sweet feeling.

“I want to thank all the team, Yamaha, my family, my friends, sponsors and fans who support me. Today is an amazing moment. We’ve been very patient, very concentrated and finally the world title arrives.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow broke away from a four-way battle for third to secure the spot early on. It was his second podium of the season and boosted his chances of taking sixth in the championship.

When he left the fray it was up to his teammate Andrea Dovizioso to fend off the satellite Hondas of Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP). The trio went back and forth, with Dovi claiming fourth on the final lap in a close finish over Bautista and Bradl; those three were separated by .134 sec.

Then came a gap of 14 secs. to Ducati Marlboro’s Valentino Rossi. Rossi was disappointed to be seventh, but admitted that that was the level he and the team were at. Teammate Nicky Hayden was equally unhappy after finishing a second behind his teammate. And having to race Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) to do it.

Aleix Espargaro beat Power Electronics Aspar teammate Randy de Puniet in the battle of the CRTs.

Phillip Island MotoGP Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
6. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
7. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
9. Karel Abraham (Ducati)
10. Aleix Espargaro (ART)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.