With 2nd and 5th places at Valencia
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner finished a hard-fought second in today's tense, season-ending Valencia Grand Prix watched by an appreciative 132,500 fans.
Loris Capirossi finished his final race for the team in fifth place
after a spirited ride from eighth on the grid.
The race concluded a remarkable season for World Champion Stoner who has scored ten victories and a further four podiums from 18 races. The awesome Aussie scored a tally of 367 points equalling the all-time points record and putting him an amazing 125 points ahead of series runner-up Dani Pedrosa, who won today's race. Stoner's stunning run of victories and Capirossi's Motegi win also helped Ducati to the constructors' crown and the Ducati Marlboro Team to the teams' title.
Stoner led the first five laps of today's race before Pedrosa came past. The pair set a blisteringly fast pace that soon moved them well clear of the pack, the gap between them growing by a tenth here, shrinking by a tenth there.
Capirossi's farewell ride, after five seasons and seven victories, including Ducati's debut MotoGP win in 2003, took the Italian to seventh overall. The team's Desmosedici GP7 machines wore a special 'Made In Italy' livery today and the duo were cheered all the way by the entire Ducati Corse staff, flown into Valencia from Bologna this morning aboard a specially chartered plane.
CASEY STONER, 2nd place, World Champion on 367 points
"I expected the pace to be low 33s, but I didn't expect it to be so fast for so long. Everything seemed good, then Dani came past and pulled a bit of an advantage straight away and I wasn't able to claw it back.
I could pretty much hold it, then he'd eke out a tenth or two, then I'd get some of it back, then he'd take out a little more. He rode a faultless race, so he deserved the win. I'm happy for him because I now know what it's like to win your home GP - it's a very good feeling, especially in this class. We were pushing hard and I had a couple of front-end slides but the bike was feeling good. Then with five laps to go I lost some grip, so I eased off a bit because we were quite a distance in front of the rest. I'm happy with the way I rode, I got the best out of the bike, so I'm reasonably happy. It's been a fantastic year, we can't say anything bad about it, my worst result was the race where we won the championship so the title made up for that! I think next year everyone will come out a little tougher, a little stronger, so I'm going to make sure I do everything I can to come out on top again."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 5th place, 7th in World Championship on 166 points
"I felt emotional when I came into the pits after my last race for Ducati. Saying goodbye is always very difficult. We've had a lot of good times together and although this year has been difficult, I've won a race and scored three more podiums. I wish to thank all my team, all the Ducati people and all the Ducati fans who have supported me. I think we worked very well this weekend and today the bike was working not so bad. I had some difficulties with the tyres because my style, which uses a lot of lean angle, works the tyres very hard. I made a decent race, not bad and not good. I had a good duel with Nicky [Hayden] but that lost me contact with Marco [Melandri]. Anyway, this season is over and now it's time to think of the future."
CLAUDIO DOMENICALI, CEO Ducati Corse
"It's been an incredible season, with Casey winning more than half the races. He's been amazing, so our thanks to him. Today he finished on the podium again, though we thought we had the chance of another win after his strong practice performance. Dani was very fast and consistent so he beat us, which shows the level of competition. We hoped Loris would also finish on the podium, which would've been a great way to complete his time with us. We cannot thank him enough, because this year's results have a lot to do with the work he's done with us over the past five seasons."