In dramatic home race
Honda LCR rider Casey Stoner finished an impressive sixth, just 0.8s behind Valentino Rossi in third place, in a dramatic finish to the Australian Grand Prix.
A heavy rain shower eight laps into the race forced riders to make a pitstop to switch
to their spare bikes fitted with wet tyres, now allowed under MotoGP rules.
Stoner surged forward in the wet conditions and was fourth on lap ten but then suffered from lack of rear grip, and finished sixth in a photo-finish with Nicky Hayden, Sete Gibernau and Valentino Rossi.
Stoner is sixth with 119points in the world championship.
“I'm pretty disappointed, the weekend was going great until the rain and I felt very good after being fastest in the morning warm-up. At the start I took it easy, some of the other guys were going too hard for the conditions. Then the rain came and it really hammered down, visibility was very bad, but I've got a good feeling in the wet and was able to make up some positions before the pitstop. But on the spare bike the rear wet tyre felt like a slick -- it was too hard a compound tyre and I struggled for grip on the left side -- it was a disaster. When Valentino passed me he came back up the inside at Siberia corner and pushed me wide -- I just remember it was an aggressive pass.
You can't do anything about the weather but I was expecting more from this race”.
“I want to congratulate Casey the team on a great job, especially in the conditions and the delicate moment of the pitstop to change bikes in the rain. Casey was fast in the warm-up but in the rain with the wet tyre it was not possible to be faster. Casey was very close to the podium, another impressive performance”.