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Stoner's route to MotoGP glory

Stoner's route to MotoGP glory

Casey Stoner is deservedly the newly crowned 2007 MotoGP World Champion, following the events of the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan, where he clinched the title with three races of the season remaining.

Casey Stoner was always earmarked out for greatness when he made his debut as a wildcard at Donington Park in 2001. Having been drafted into the same academy system which has seen the likes of Dani Pedrosa and Toni Elias rise through the MotoGP ranks, Stoner took full advantage of his family's bold move to Europe to build on a promising national dirt-track career.

Beginning a permanent Grand Prix career in the 250cc class under the guidance of Lucio Cecchinello, it was when he dropped down to the 125s the following season that the motorcycling world began to take notice, as he took four podiums and a win at the final round. In 2004 he battled for the 125 championship with KTM, taking their first ever Grand Prix victory and finishing fifth overall.

A return to the LCR team and the 250 class in 2005 saw him battle his old stablemate Pedrosa for the 250cc title, winning five races on the Aprilia, before he continued with LCR for his and the team's rookie season in MotoGP on board a Honda.

His rookie year in 2006 saw flashes of brilliance mixed with a few disappointing crashes, but stand-out moments included pole position in just his second race at Qatar followed by a battle to the line with Marco Melandri in Turkey where he was just pipped into second place. His performances saw the Ducati factory come knocking at the door, and since the end of 2006 his career has gone into overdrive.

A maiden MotoGP victory the first race of 2007 at Qatar was a self-confessed surprise for both rider and team, but once he followed this up with wins at Turkey and China, it was clear the Stoner juggernaut was rolling towards a title tilt. His standout performance at Catalunya, where he battled toe-to-toe with five-time champion Valentino Rossi will go down as one of the great races in history, whilst he dominated the mid-season with pole-to-flag victories at three consecutive races at Laguna Seca, Brno and Misano. He has been the dominant force in MotoGP this season, the only rider to score points in every round, and with four rounds still to go he seals the title with a total of 297 points, 8 wins and 11 podiums, including 5 pole positions.

He will ride at the next round at Phillip Island in front of a jubilant home crowd as the new king of the premier class, though for now it is taking time for the triumph to sink in with the new champion.

From the paddock in Japan he commented: "It's a little bit overwhelming I suppose because we didn't really expect to get it at this race. We thought at the beginning of the race that everything was going well and then Valentino had a problem so it's come on quite quickly. I didn't really expect to be World Champion today."

"There's a lot of people I have to thank. My parents have always been there for me supporting me throughout my whole career. My wife has been there through this whole season and the past few. Everyone that has helped me along the way, my whole team, Bridgestone tyres. I want to say a big thank you to anyone who has had anything to do with my career and you know, we finally did it!"

To see the new World Champion's interview in full click on the video link on the left.

MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Casey Stoner

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