Casey Stoner couldn’t have said a better goodbye. In his last race on home soil, the Australian took out the Phillip Island Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, his sixth consecutive win at the late season stage.
Even Jorge Lorenzo’s second place, which secured world championship for the Yamaha rider, couldn’t topple Stoner’s high speed performance.
The 53,000 in attendance (122,000 over the entire weekend) witnessed Stoner overcome a rough start to ride at speeds in excess of 340km/h and reclaim the lead.
Stoner is retiring prematurely because of a want to spend time with his young family and a loss of passion for the sport, but you have to wonder if he recaptured the thirst for victory after seeing his home crowd’s reaction.
"I've got so much support over the years racing at home, but this year was so much more than all the years previous. It was quite something to take in. I actually took notice in the last few laps – everybody cheering me on. It was just amazing to see the amount of people up there," said Stoner.
The 27-year-old came in nine seconds ahead of Lorenzo, but his Yamaha rival had only good things to say about the two-time world champ after the event.
"He is the most talented rider I have ever seen. I have a lot of respect for Casey," said Lorenzo.
"Pure talent, very quick. But he has decided to stay with his family – enjoy his life. And we will miss him."
Sunday’s second place finished secured Lorenzo’s second world championship, but he was helped when the only other title threat, Dani Pedrosa, crashed out of the race.
Stoner’s Honda teammate actually had an early lead, but he lost control of his bike on a corner and that was the end of him. Pedrosa is now too far behind Lorenzo on the standings to make up the difference in the final race of the season in Valencia in two weeks- Stoner’s final career race.
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Image courtesy of Getty Images.