Casey Conquers Ducati's Home Race
Ducati finally conquered its home race at Mugello today thanks to a stunning performance from Casey Stoner in one of the most difficult and eventful races of his career. Victory for the Australian in the second wet-to-dry flag-to-flag race in succession was his 18th for the Italian factory and it was enough to secure the World Championship lead after five rounds, with four points more than Lorenzo and nine more than Rossi, the two riders who joined him on the podium today.
Much of the race came down to tactics again in front of the 80,000-strong Italian crowd as the riders once more started on a wet surface and completed the 23 lap contest on slicks, with Stoner this time judging things to perfection.
The Australian retook the championship lead as he crossed the line a second in front of former leader Jorge Lorenzo, who also rode well. Lorenzo’s colleague Valentino Rossi completed the podium in third place as the Italian hero crossing the line two seconds behind Stoner and less than one tenth in front of Andrea Dovizioso. It was a shame for Dovizioso to miss out on the rostrum on the last lap once again, having held the race lead early on, on wet tires. Likewise, his compatriot Loris Capirossi was leading at one stage – later in the race – but he fell away in the final laps to finish fifth.
CASEY STONER 1st:
“I have already won in Italy, at Misano in 2007, and it was great for Ducati but this was the one I really wanted. We’ve struggled to find a great setting here for the past two years but today was our day. During the practice my pace in the dry wasn’t perfect but it was quite good. We started out well in the wet, I felt good and the bike was doing great until the wet tyres were worn out. I kept trying to push to the limit because I didn’t want to lose ground on the others like at Le Mans and stayed out there until I was absolutely sure it was the right time to change tyres. As soon as I went out on slicks I felt comfortable and competitive. Unfortunately I had an issue with the clutch and it started to give me a few problems. Loris came past and was pushing hard and riding very well and he kept me on my toes. At one point I thought it was all over but thankfully I was able to work out a way to ride around the problem and bring the victory home. I made a couple of mistakes over the final two laps but luckily it didn’t matter. It was a really difficult race but a great one for the whole team, for Filippo (Preziosi), for everybody at Ducati and all the Ducatisti. I’m so happy today.”
JORGE LORENZO 2nd:
“There were so many things happening and it was a crazy race, after the warm up I was so worried because I didn’t have a good feeling to go fast in the wet, but then I was even more worried after the crash in the sighting lap because I thought I might have to start last. I got a really bad start because my rear tyre was sliding so much and then I hardly remember anything because the race was like a movie.”
1 C. STONER AUS oakley
2 J. LORENZO SPA oakley
3 V. ROSSI ITA
4 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA oakley
5 L. CAPIROSSI ITA oakley
6 C. EDWARDS USA
7 J. TOSELAND GBR oakley
8 R. DE PUNIET FRA oakley
9 N. CANEPA ITA
10 C. VERMEULEN AUS oakley