Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Australia’s Stoner bookends season with Valencia win

AFP , VALENCIA, SPAIN

Australia’s Casey Stoner ended the season as he began it by taking victory in the Valencia MotoGP on Sunday to register his sixth win of the campaign.

The Ducati rider, who won the season-opener in Qatar back in March, had already made sure of the runner-up position in the championship behind eight-time winner Valentino Rossi.

Pole-sitter Stoner was riding for pride in the final race of the year, but demonstrated his courage by once again riding through the pain of a wrist injury which requires surgery next week.

He finished almost four seconds ahead of last year’s Valencia winner Dani Pedrosa on a Honda who took his 11th podium finish of the season.

“I don’t think anybody really knew how the race would be. Each wet session was different so you couldn’t get an understanding of how the bike was working,” Stoner said after a trying weekend which featured rain in qualifying and sun in the race.

“We were struggling in the wet, and just started to get a good feel when it turned dry. Before we didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “People were finding solutions in the warmup, but our tyres were getting destroyed so we were a little worried. We had a setting that I don’t think we could have equalled if we’d have had all weekend to work on it. We were really lucky to stumble across it.”

Rossi, on a Yamaha and starting from the 10th on the grid, was third for his ninth podium finish in succession and fifteenth of the campaign.

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