Stoner Hails Fantastic Podium at Jerez

Ducati's Casey Stoner admitted that crossing the Spanish GP finish line in 3rd place was just as good as a feeling as winning the season opener in Qatar. The Australian rider struggled with his Ducati GP9 for most of the afternoon at Jerez, as front tire wear proved decisive in his inability to challenge for a higher spot at the chequered flag.

After being overtaken by reigning MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi in the early stages of the race, Stoner revealed his only concern was to stay as close to the Italian as possible, in order to catch early leader Dani Pedrosa. However, when it became obvious he was losing ground to Rossi, his focus for the afternoon changed to securing 3rd place.

Clinching his first ever podium at Jerez did not prove an easy job either, as pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo started to close down on the Australian rider in the late laps of the race. While trying to close the gap on Stoner for 3rd place overall, the Spaniard lost control of his bike and crashed out of his home race, practically handing Stoner the podium on a silver plate.

At the beginning of the race we got a fantastic start and were up there with everyone. Then I started to lose the front at a few corners and Valentino (Rossi) came past. I tried to stay with me as long as possible to see if he could take me up to Dani (Pedrosa). But I lost the front a few too many times and just decided to stay ahead of Jorge,” said Stoner.

Then he started catching me and I thought it was game over and the podium was almost gone. I decided to fight as long as I could, until the dying stages at least, and in those laps almost once every lap in different corners I was almost losing the front end. So I was almost ready to give up third and back off the pace, and Jorge crashed,” admitted the Aussie rider.

After all these years, this is my first time on the podium at Jerez, so it's been a long time coming. I've had a couple of opportunities but made mistakes and things like that,” concluded Stoner, who is now 11 points behind Rossi in the overall classification. MotoGP action will resume two weeks from now, at Le Mans (France).
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