Thursday, October 6


Words: Todd Sutherland

Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner may have slipped at the latest round but he has every chance to win the championship at his home GP next week.

Australian Stoner dominated proceedings at the recent Japanese round, that was until he ran off the circuit early in the race. Losing at least 10 seconds as he regained the circuit. From there he made good use of the dramas that unfolded through the race to work to a creditable 3rd place finish behind winner Dani Pedrosa (Honda) and Jorge Lerenzo (Yamaha).

The first lap saw Valentino Rossi (Ducati) continue his woeful season with a crash which also forced Ben Spies (Yamaha)off the circuit. Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Simoncelli (both Honda) and Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) all suffered ride through penalties for jumping the start.

Unfortunately Australian Damian Cudlin, who was in his first MotoGP race (subing for the injured Loris Capirossi) crashed out along with Alvaro Bautista and Toni Elis late in the race. Hector Barabera joined the group and Rossi although Barabera at least made the second lap.

Stoner heads to Phillip Island where he has won the last four years needing 10 more points over Lorenzo to take the chamionship. That translates to Lorenzo needing to finish higher than fourth place, if Stoner wins to still have a chance of retaining the title in the final two rounds in Malaysia and Cataluna.