Casey Stoner’s 26th premier class victory — his third of the 2011 season — rounded off a highly satisfactory weekend for the Australian at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya on Sunday. Only five other riders have a greater number of victories in the premier class, namely Rossi, Agostini, Hailwood, Lawson, Doohan.

Having started from the front row of the grid Stoner took the lead of the Round 5 race on lap one and did not look back for the remainder of the 25-lap contest, crossing the finish line 2.403s clear of second placed Jorge Lorenzo.

“We got a reasonably good start but not as good as Jorge,” said Stoner of his title rival, who took the hole shot and led into turn 1. “I wanted to try to pass him early on but had to wait until the end of the first lap. From this point I just tried to put in the consistent laps as we did in the practice sessions to see if he could stay with me, fortunately I was able to open up an advantage without pushing too hard or feeling too much pressure.”

Stoner felt good on his RC212V and even the onset of some very light rain towards the end of the race failed to break his concentration.

“I was really happy, the bike was feeling fantastic and then it started to rain,” he explained. “There was enough rain there to make you think that it will affect the bike, and in the last corner there was enough rain to make the track slippery. As I was always the first to arrive to the wet area of the track, I watched what the others were doing and if they had started to catch me then I would push and if I start to pull an advantage then I would back off a little. I’m just happy I kept the bike upright at this stage and I want to thank all my team at Repsol Honda for all the hard work this weekend.”

The result closed the gap to Championship leader Lorenzo to seven points, and Stoner is now motivated to fight for the win again at the AirAsia British Grand Prix which now follows immediately.

“We now head to Silverstone next week where we’ll also be looking to fight for victory, I just hope Dani (Pedrosa, team-mate) can make a return there also and I wish him a fast recovery,” he concluded.


Image by Repsol Media


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