Ducati report from Laguna Seca MotoGP
FAULTLESS STONER DOMINATES LAGUNA, CAPIROSSI OUT OF LUCK
Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner unleashed a faultless display of riding at Laguna Seca this afternoon to win his sixth victory of the year and extend his World Championship lead to 44 points. The Australian grabbed the lead after the first few corners of the first lap and was never challenged from there, running away from the pack to win by an emphatic 9.865 seconds.
Today's victory followed a similarly faultless two days of practice and qualifying – Stoner topped all five pre-race sessions aboard his awesome Desmosedici GP7. Stoner's weekend-long domination also made him the first rider to win a MotoGP race from pole position in 13 events. The last man to score pole and race victory was Loris Capirossi on his Ducati at last September's Japanese Grand Prix.
Capirossi was out of luck at Laguna today. The Italian, who finished second in last Sunday's German GP, had qualified strongly on the second row of the grid but withdrew form the US GP after the first few laps with a technical fault. MotoGP now commences its traditional summer recess with Ducati leading the riders', constructors' and teams' World Championships. The sport reconvenes at Brno for the Czech GP on August 17/18/19.
CASEY STONER, winner, World Championship leader on 221 points:
"This would have to be my best racing weekend ever. We also had a great weekend at the Sachsenring last week, it just didn't work out in the race. Today everything was perfect, the tyres, the bike, everything was working great the whole weekend. We managed to be fast in every session and after all this hard work we did it in the race.
We also broke the long run of no pole sitter winning a race – the last person to do it was on a Ducati and the next person to do it was on a Ducati. I'm absolutely stoked about this race. We went out in morning warm-up and we were able to do really low 22s and even high 21s with half race distance on the tyres, so we felt pretty confident.
At the start of the race I dipped into the 22s, I wanted to see how fast everybody else could go. I was pulling away from Dani [Pedrosa] by about half second lap, then Chris [Vermeulen] got in front of him and started to chase me down. I thought he was obviously pushing a bit harder so I decided to up my pace and I was slowly but surely pulling a gap.
Chris was very fast, but I feel like I had a little bit better rear tyre, we had selected a pretty hard rear which really started working towards the end, so I just continued to push throughout the race. I didn't think there was going to be a big group at the front, I knew we had the set-up and it was just a matter of everything going to plan for us with no bad luck and everything worked."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, DNF, 8th in World Championship on 77 points
"The weekend had been going very well, so I'm sad not to finish the race. In morning warm-up we were faster than yesterday so I was confident I could have a good race. Casey and Chris were very fast but I believe I could have fought for another podium finish. After a couple of laps the gearbox stuck in second gear and that was that. It seems like it was only a tiny little fault, but sometimes things like that can happen in racing."
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager
"We are so happy for Casey today because once again he dominated the weekend and today he got the victory he deserved. He has been incredibly fast all weekend. Bridgestone gave us fantastic tyres, but it was Casey who made the difference today, he finished almost ten seconds ahead of the next guy, who was also on Bridgestones. We are very, very sorry for Loris. For sure he could have ridden another great race, but he was stopped by a broken gear lever return spring. Now we go into the summer break – it's great for us to go into the break ahead in the three championships, so we can relax a bit before coming back next month. As always, a big thank you to our technical partners Bridgestone and Shell Advance."
Images courtesy Ducati Corse