2010 MotoGP Phillip Island Australia race results – Stoner unstoppable

Stoner wins easily over Lorenzo, Rossi and Hayden scrap to the finish; Spies fifth, Edwards seventh

Casey Stoner

Mark Wernham
Mark Wernham
Mark Wernham
Mark Wernham

OCT. 17, 2010 Phillip Island, Australia- As nearly as predictable as the erratic weather at Phillip Island, Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner dominated at his home MotoGP for the fourth straight year. The 25-year-old Australian crushed the field by 0.688 seconds to take pole position, and he was never headed in the race, quickly taking off and building a lead that ended up more than eight seconds over a chasing Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner’s pace on the first lap was so fast that he already had over 1.2 seconds in hand by the time he crossed the start/finish line.

“It seemed to be when I’ve won it twice in row and was going for the third, nobody was really expecting it,” said Stoner of the pressure to continue winning at Phillip Island, “but this year, everyone really seemed to expect it. They weren’t going to take any other result. Every weekend we’ve been coming out trying to win, and we’ve managed to win three out of the last four. Unfortunately last week, we slipped off on the first lap with a bit of a misjudgment, but this weekend, everything’s gone so well for us. From free practice one, we were happy with the way the bike was working. You know, the support from the fans this weekend’s been fantastic, so it was time for me to go out in the race and do the job. But definitely before this race, I was feeling a little bit of pressure, a little nervous, more so than I usually am. I think I need to have a few more nerves before other races, because I didn’t seem to make a mistake that whole race. I was really happy with the way I was riding, and the bike, the team, everyone’s done a great job. I just want to finish off this season strongly, but for sure, it’s nice to get my home GP.”

New World Champion Lorenzo cruised to an equally lonely second place on his Fiat Yamaha, after realizing that although he was keeping Stoner honest, there was no way he was going to catch the fleeing Ducati rider. Lorenzo had to work his way into second after Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden both forced their way past through the first two corners. Spies ended up running a bit wide on the run out of Turn One and when he tried to make the ground back up on the entrance to Turn Two, the Texan very nearly collected Lorenzo as the Majorcan dove for the apex. Luckily there was no major contact, but the dicing allowed Stoner to build a lead he would never relinquish. "Yes, I knew it," Lorenzo admitted regarding how difficult it would be to beat Stoner at Phillip Island this weekend. "I knew it, because Casey had won the three race here in a row, so I just tried my best. I ride best as I could and in some laps it seems the gap was getting close, but a little bit, just a little bit; then the next lap, another more tenths for Casey. In the middle of the race, I thought, OK, today's it's better not to take more risk and just finish second and be happy with this position.
Normally I don't see on the grid any rider because I want to concentrate in myself, but this time I just look the tire of Casey and it was completely new. So I think he has only one lap to warm up the tire. But he just goes so fast on first lap to open a gap of 1.5 seconds or maybe two in the first lap, so when I saw that, I just keep trying, but with little hopes, no? So I just enjoy riding and sliding, but, you know, today was Casey's victory."

Hayden was holding a strong third for the first half of the race, until Valentino Rossi caught up after suffering a horrid start that saw the nine-time World Champion in ninth place on the first lap. An aggressive move by Rossi up the inside into MG Corner pushed Hayden wide and allowed San Carlo Gresini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli into fourth, but the Kentucky Kid was not to be disposed of so easily, and quickly worked his back past Simoncelli onto the back of Rossi. Hayden stayed glued to Rossi’s rear tire until three laps to go, when he swooped up the inside of Rossi at Honda Corner. Hayden then managed to keep Rossi at bay until the final lap, when Rossi once again forced his way up the inside at Honda Corner to take the final podium position despite Hayden’s best efforts by 0.038 seconds. "Yes, was another good battle of the last lap with Nicky," Rossi said. "I stay in front a lot of laps, and I think I pull a little bit Nicky away from Marco and Spies. But at the end, Nicky was strong and in some places also a little bit faster than me, so he attack me and I try to go and I have one moment where I think I cannot maybe arrive on the podium. When Nicky overtake me and he [gapped] me a little bit I think, 'f**k, maybe this time I lose the battle.' I think the only way is to touch, but I ride on the rear tire of him in turn three to be very close in the braking for turn four. I was quite fast in turn three. Nicky tried to resist and it was a great battle. But I make a good move on the last lap and arrive on the podium. So is a good result, because when you start from the third row arrive on the podium is good. I enjoy the race, but unfortunately I expect to be faster on the race. We’re struggling too much during the practice to find a good balance of the bike. And I have to start behind. We have a good idea this morning, I can ride quite well this afternoon, but I’m not fast like I want, like last year, for example. I have some problem, so I have to fight to the end for arrive on the podium."

Yamaha gives Rossi permission to ride the Ducati after the Valencia race

Probably even more important to Rossi is that Yamaha apparently will indeed let him test the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 after the season-ending Valencia race. The subject became a source of contention after Rossi's aggressive overtaking maneuvers with Lorenzo (when the world championship was far from clinched) at the Motegi race in Japan angered some of Yamaha management.
"I am so happy because last night I spoke with Mr Furusawa," revealed Rossi, "and he said to me that Yamaha allowed me to try the Ducati after Valencia. I am happy because it means all the effort and all our special relationship means something, also for Yamaha like for me. I think it is very fair from Yamaha to say yes because we only have a little bit of testing, it is not something crucial but it is good and I am happy and I will try the bike."

Hayden was obviously very disappointed to get beat by Rossi for the final podium spot. He admitted that the Italian's pass early on was pretty aggressive and resulted in some contact. "He got into me pretty good early in the race up into the MG," Hayden said about the pass. "It was quite late in the turn; he got me, stood me up, and Simoncelli got through and I thought, 'wow, he's going to get past these guys.' And when I got into fourth, he had a gap, and I did my best lap by far all weekend to close that gap down. But it was really a fun race. I enjoyed it. It was a shame it was racing for third, because I have raced him around here like that for a win a couple of times, so that took away from it. Still, I enjoyed it and my bike helped make it enjoyable, and the wind went away. We had some sun, but the main thing is I had a good opportunity I let get away. I had the bike, the speed, everything to beat him on the last lap and didn't do it.
"You just don't get a chance to beat Valentino on the last lap very often. And I didn't make it happen, so I'm pretty frustrated. I enjoyed the race a lot. I don't want to sound like a crybaby or nothing, because it was a good hard race and we went back and forth and enjoyed it all, but fourth place it's kinda hard to dress it up and put a real positive spin on it."

Spies looked to be in with a good chance at the podium at the start, but the incident with Lorenzo at Turn Two seemed to unsettle him for a few moments, and first Hayden, then Simoncelli and Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovisioso forced their way by, leaving Spies down in sixth place by the time the pack reach Siberia. Spies regrouped to get back into third, but a mistake in Turn One on lap seven allowed everyone to get back past again. He managed a run back past Simoncelli and Dovisioso (Dovi would soon drop out with fork problems on his RC212V), although Simoncelli put up a fight for a few laps before Spies finally broke free to take fifth by nearly three seconds. “Jorge and I got super close coming out of the first corner and he almost touched my brake lever," Spies revealed about his close encounter in the second turn of the race. "It made me run wide in turn two and a couple of people came by. It didn't ruin the race but it ruined me building up some momentum. I fought my way back into third and was pretty comfortable when I ran wide at the first corner on lap seven. I got in there a bit hot and the rear came round. Everybody got a run on me and came by and dropped me back to sixth. I then had a good battle with Simoncelli. I kind of towed him around and he picked up his pace and came by me. Once I knew nobody was behind me, I just waited until a few laps from the end to push and pass him back. I made sure I got a decent gap and chilled out in fifth. At the end I was running times that if everything had gone smoothly, I feel like we could have battled for the podium. Towards the end of the race I was running similar times to those ahead of me and that's all I can do. I'm happy to be Rookie of the Year too. I beat a lot of good guys for that and it will be an achievement I can be proud of at the end of the season. I've had some good results on this three-week stretch and I'm now looking forward to the last two rounds."

Spies’ Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards looked like he was slowly catching up to the duel between Spies and Simoncelli, but he eventually finished about 10 seconds behind the Italian in seventh. “The pace I'd run all weekend was pretty much the pace I was able to run in the race," said Edwards. "Conditions changed so much over the weekend that we never really got enough time to work on finding a decent setup. I was confident going into the race and got a decent start but pretty much from the second corner I was having some spinning from the rear tire. I tried to adjust my riding style because I didn't want to lose contact with the group in front of me. I settled into a comfortable rhythm but I just couldn't go any faster. I was trying different lines but I couldn't enter the corner like I wanted to. My speed was basically dictated by what the rear was doing, but we'll look at the data and figure a few things out for the final part of the season. I want to thank my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. This has been a tough period of the season but we've worked really hard together and I'm happy with the way I've performed. Congratulations to Ben too for getting Rookie of the Year. He's rode awesome all year and he's beaten a lot of good guys to achieve that."

2010 MotoGP Phillip Island Australia race results:
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha
4. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati
5. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha
6. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) Honda
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha
8. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Ducati
9. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda
10. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Honda
11. Mika Kallio (FIN) Ducati
12. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Suzuki
13. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda
14. Hector Barbera (SPA) Ducati