Stoner set to step up again
CASEY Stoner is chasing his fourth Phillip Island win in a row in this weekend’s Iveco Australian MotoGP. The Ducati-mounted Australian has delighted the fans in the past three years and recent form suggests he’ll be a leading contender for the top step of the podium again this year. He’ll be up against the usual suspects — Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi is in ominous form after recovering from injury, and Jorge Lorenzo wrapped up the 2010 championship in Malaysia and won’t be worried about riding conservatively for points. Dani Pedrosa has also declared himself a starter despite a broken collarbone in three places late last month. For Ducati fans it will also be a chance to farewell their hero, with Stoner joining Pedrosa in the Honda camp next year as the young racer chases his second world championship. The action doesn’t stop with the MotoGP, with three Australians — Ant West, Wayne Maxwell and Alex Cudlin — competing in the second-tier Moto2 class, where riders are free to use any chassis, but restricted to identical 600cc Honda engines. Westy is brilliant at the Island, but is battling an overweight bike and will be hoping for rain to level the playing field, while Maxwell and Cudlin will be doing everything short of throwing the bikes down the road to impress in their first Grand Prix outings. Support classes include the Australian Superbikes, Australian Supersports and Historics. General admittance tickets for the three days start at $150, and entry to Sunday’s race day costs from $90. Go to www.motogp.com.au for more details.
— Craig Duff
Winning run: Casey Stoner with the trophy after last year’s victory.