Stoner delighted to prove fitness
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, October 18th 2009, 06:12 GMT|
Casey Stoner said the most satisfying part of his third consecutive Australian Grand Prix victory was that he had no fitness troubles at all following his recent illness.
The Ducati rider fended off a strong challenge from Valentino Rossi and then put on a late surge to win at Phillip Island by 1.9s. After having to ease his pace in the second half of races as his physical condition worsened in races throughout the early summer, Stoner was thrilled to be able to maintain a strong pace for the whole distance today.
"I was really happy that physically I was able to do the same from start to finish," he said.
"I was just really happy with the way everything was working and especially my body. Every lap I kept going past the point where I used to just hit my wall. It made me smile - I enjoyed each lap after that."
He said the Phillip Island win had looked possible after his strong run to second behind Jorge Lorenzo on his comeback race at Estoril.
"To come back in Portugal was a really nice result for us," said Stoner. "Jorge was just too quick on the day, but we almost had the pace to win the race. I'm really proud of the team and all of us for coming back that quickly. After the warm-up in Portugal, this race was just a run on from that.
"We've struggled all weekend with rear grip. We were trying to get the bike hooked up a little bit better out of turns, but I think everybody was suffering with similar problems. We just did the best we could for the race. The bike was working pretty well."
Stoner is now aiming to finish the year in style by winning at Sepang and Valencia as well.
"After the season we've had, it's definitely not been our year to challenge for the championship, and that's a little bit disappointing - but at least we've had a good run and learned a lot of things, so it's definitely not all bad," he said.
"It's very nice to be back here. To do three from three would be a very nice way to end the year for me."