News 13 Oct 2009

MotoGP: Ducati's Stoner hopeful of home victory this weekend


The Ducati Marlboro Team heads down under this week to the Phillip Island circuit for Casey Stoner’s home race, the Australian Grand Prix. Both Stoner and his American team-mate Nicky Hayden are huge fans of the track, which overlooks the Bass Strait, because it is fast, flowing and technically demanding. Stoner has two victories to his name there in the MotoGP class whilst Hayden stood on the podium for the first time in his MotoGP career back in 2003 and has done so on two further occasions since. Hayden is also the current lap record holder, with a time that was just 0.008 seconds quicker than Stoner’s best effort in the same race.

Other than in 2006, when they had a best result of fourth, the Ducati Marlboro Team have celebrated on the podium every year they have competed at Phillip Island, including an incredible one-two with Stoner and Loris Capirossi in 2007. It is therefore the ideal venue for Stoner continue his return to full strength and for Hayden to be back amongst the frontrunners.

CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team (4th in the championship on 170 points)
“I’m looking forward to Phillip Island. In Portugal I was able to get to the end of the race weekend without problems, just the predictable tiredness after a full MotoGP race, following two months of inactivity. So maybe I’ll be a bit more ready for Phillip Island now. Besides that the temperature down there is a bit colder than other races we go to and that suits better my physical conditions at the moment . The track is awesome – it’s fast, flowing and there isn’t really a section that the riders don’t enjoy. Normally races are fantastic there. I’ve had a dream run over the last couple of years but this one is going to be a little different so we have just to wait and see what we can do.”

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team (14th in the championship on 81 points)
“I wish we were at Phillip Island today! It’s a track and place I really like. The track is great – it’s fast, flowing and a lot of fun. I hope we can get some decent weather because the place can be really challenging when its cold – there are not so many right hand corners so it can take a few laps to heat and scuff the right side of the tyre. I also enjoy the flyaways at the end of the year because it’s a little different atmosphere with all the teams traveling together and staying in the same hotels – you see a different side of people. So we got three more races left before the end of the season and I really hope and need to make another step up toward the front. I really need to dig deep and try to make it happen.”

LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP Project Director
“It is always nice to go to Philip Island. It is a magical track and it is full of fantastic memories for our team. Last year Casey and Nicky had a great battle for the lead over several laps and it would be a dream come true to see them recreate that on their Ducatis. That would be the perfect way to definitively put all the difficulties we’ve had this season behind us and reward the good work of all the team and everybody back at Ducati Corse”

Phillip Island is the fastest circuit in MotoGP and one of the most demanding on the rider, bike and tyres. The layout is flowing and riddled with elevation changes that require precise throttle and machine control. It is one of the riders’ favourite circuits because, unlike many modern tracks, Phillip Island has fast corners that really put them to the test. Located 130km south of Melbourne, the island hosted a motorcycle race for the first time in 1920, when the only way to access it was by boat. The original 12-mile track fell into disrepair but it was rebuilt as a closed circuit in the 80s and held its first Grand Prix in 1989. Its exposed location next to the Bass Strait often makes this race a victim to extremely changeable weather conditions.


Circuit Record: Nicky Hayden (Honda – 2008), 1’30.059 – 177.803 Km/h
Best Pole: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’28.665 – 180.598 Km/h
Circuit Length: 4,448 km
MotoGP Race 2009: 27 laps (120.096 km)
MotoGP Schedule 2009: 16:00 Local Time

Podium 2008: 1st Casey Stoner, 2nd Valentino Rossi, 3rd Nicky Hayden

2008: 1st (Stoner)
2007: 1st (Stoner) 2nd (Capirossi)
2006: 4th (Gibernau)
2005: 3rd (Checa)
2004: 3rd (Capirossi)
2003: 2nd (Capirossi)