After 23 wins, 21 poles, and one World Championship title together, Casey Stoner signed off as a Ducati rider today at Valencia with his 42nd podium. Four wonderful seasons for the Italian factory ended with a weekend to remember, with Stoner taking pole position yesterday and making a perfect start to the race today, leading for the majority of the race and defending first position with tooth and nail before finally conceding to Jorge Lorenzo on the 23rd lap.
Nicky Hayden also got a terrific start from the second row of the grid and the American was third into the first turn, passing Dani Pedrosa for second to give chase to his team-mate at the front. However, on the third lap he lost control of his GP10 as he entered turn one and his race ended with a high-speed crash.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd
“We had a big decision to make in terms of the tyre choice today but we went for the hard compound and maybe in hindsight it cost us. It is difficult to say because maybe the softer option wouldn’t have worked as well in the final stages so we could have ended up second either way. At the end of the day Jorge had a better pace than us today and there wasn’t much more we could have done. It is nice to bring this era to a close on the podium and I think that is fitting. I have so many great memories of these past few years with Ducati, from my first win at Qatar in 2007 and that race in Barcelona the same year, to the title success at Motegi and my wins at Phillip Island. I also especially remember my return to action in Portugal last year. I have enjoyed every single victory on the Ducati so much and I want to thank them for so many great years together. I leave behind a lot of people that I will miss, like Filippo, Vitto and the others but even though we will be rivals on the track from now on our personal relationship will stay the same. I also want to thank all the Ducati fans for their support over these past four years.”
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) DNF
“I am bitterly disappointed with the result today. After the warm-up this morning when I set the fastest time I really felt confident we could get a good result today and I pushed hard from the start. The bike felt good and I was able to make up a few positions into the first turn, then pass Dani for second place. To crash just a couple of laps later is frustrating because I had the pace to be fighting for the podium out there. It is definitely not the way I wanted to end the season and my guys deserved more after another great job this weekend. We had our problems with the bike on Friday but we pulled something out of the bag and I had a competitive bike here. Overall over the past few races we have ended the season quite strongly and I am looking forward to taking that into winter testing and hopefully coming out with an even more competitive package next year.”
FILIPPO PREZIOSI – General Director Ducati Corse
“Right now I feel a mixture of sadness and pride because I feel we weren’t able to give Casey the opportunity to win this race. Every time we have been able to do that he has won or been on the podium. With 23 victories he has won more than any other rider in the 800cc era, as well as 42 podiums, 21 pole positions and of course the title in 2007. It is difficult to find any other words for him than ‘thank you’. I am sorry for Nicky because he had an excellent warm-up, he made a determined start and he was really on the pace when he crashed but these things happen when you give 110%.”
Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’32.582 – 155.732 Km/h
Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2006), 1’31.002 – 158.436 Km/h