Casey Stoner took his second straight victory at Motegi, leading from the second turn of the first lap to the checkered flag. Stoner’s 22nd premier-class success moves him up to joint eighth in the all-time winners list alongside the legendary Geoff Duke, John Surtees and Kenny Roberts Sr.
Nicky Hayden had a tough race and found himself running off the track when Ben Spies swerved to avoid Loris Capirossi early on in the race. Hayden returned to the track in last place, but managed to find his rhythm and fight for a 12th place finish.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 1st
“This win feels great. I could have never imagined when I began my first season in Grand Prix at sixteen years of age that I would reach this level and all I can say is that it is an honour to be alongside such great names. I have taken all my MotoGP wins with Ducati and it is down to their fantastic support, hard work and above all their belief in me that this has been possible. Once again we put in maximum effort all weekend here to find some stability in the hard braking and acceleration zones at this circuit, which has been a massive challenge for us. We tried something in warm-up this morning that didn’t quite work so we took a bit of a lucky dip for the race and it paid off. Once I got out in front I knew we had a chance to win but it wasn’t without fighting for it because Andrea (Dovizioso) rode a great race to push me all the way to the last lap. It’s a big win for me, especially because it’s my first at this circuit and that means a lot.”
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 12th
“We haven’t had the best of weekends so we made a few more changes to the bike going into the race than we normally would and actually it felt pretty good from the moment the lights went out. Maybe I got a little too excited because I made a mistake into turn five on the second lap, got in there too hot and a few of us ran pretty deep. Spies went off in front of me and I followed him into the gravel. We touched coming back onto the track and then there was a big kerb that I had to avoid so I lost a lot of time there. Once I got into my rhythm the pace wasn’t too bad and I passed a few guys but each pass took me longer than I would have liked because I didn’t have much confidence on the brakes. By the end I could see ninth place and maybe with a couple of extra laps I could have made it but it wasn’t to be today. I have to apologise to the team because I crashed on Friday which got us behind and even though they worked hard all weekend we haven’t found the traction I needed to be competitive today. Luckily we don’t have to wait too long to put it behind us in Malaysia.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team manager
“After two really tough days of practice we couldn’t really have expected a race like this so my compliments to Casey and the team. He had a great race today and set an incredible pace from the start to the end, without making a single mistake despite some intense pressure from Dovi. Congratulations to everybody in the garage because we kept cool heads yesterday at a time when it would have been easy to panic and make the wrong decisions. Unfortunately an off track moment for Nicky on the second lap meant that his charge through the pack was for twelfth place and not higher. His pace would have been good enough for seventh or eighth, which wouldn’t have been bad at all considering the way practice went and that can at least give him more confidence for the next races.”
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