News 15 Aug 2011

Stoner reflects on surprise victory in the Czech Republic

Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner put forward a Doohan-like performance for Australia at Brno.

Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner put forward a Doohan-like performance for Australia at Brno.

Australia’s Casey Stoner admits that his victory in the Czech Republic round of the MotoGP World Championship came as a surprise after Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa crashed out.

Pedrosa had set the pace throughout practice while Stoner struggled at stages, however Stoner dominated the race to an unchallenged victory after the Spaniard crashed out on lap three of 22.

“We knew we could make a strong podium challenge today, but we didn’t really expect the race win,” Stoner said. “As soon as the race got underway I was having a good battle with Andrea [Dovizioso], but this cost me a little time and I was afraid that Jorge [Lorenzo] and Dani would stretch away from me, but when I got past I found I had plenty of speed to catch up and the bike felt great.

“I passed Jorge and then Dani sadly crashed out so I pushed to see if I could pull a gap and I was able to do so quite quickly, then from this point it was a matter of managing the race. I’m very sorry for Dani, he would have been hard to beat today.

“After such a hard weekend it’s fantastic to come out with a comfortable win, a big thanks to my team who never give up, they always support me so a huge thanks to them. Tomorrow we’ll be back on the 1000 for another day of testing, so I hope the weather stays dry for us!”

Stoner took over at the front after Pedrosa’s fall and he didn’t waste time building an advantage over his pursuers. Within four laps he was two seconds in front of Dovizioso, who had also worked his way past Lorenzo.

Then by half-distance the Australian was more than five seconds ahead. At one point the gap was more than eight seconds, but in the final laps he eased off to cross the line 6.5s up on his teammate.

It was an especially impressive performance considering that Stoner and his crew had struggled to get the best out of his RCV during practice.

And the fact that Lorenzo was relegated to fourth by Dovizioso and Simoncelli means that Stoner extended his championship lead to 32 points with seven races to go.