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Stoner - `Rossi is a worthy champion´

Stoner - `Rossi is a worthy champion´

As he finally relinquished the MotoGP World title on Sunday in Japan, in the country where he clinched it last year, Casey Stoner acknowledged the brilliance of Valentino Rossi.

After finishing in second place between Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa at the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan, Casey Stoner praised the race-winning Italian and new MotoGP World Champion as he handed over his premier class crown to The Doctor.

Stoner´s team-mate Marco Melandri was an unlucky thirteenth at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, where he will return next year as a Kawasaki rider.

Casey Stoner - second

`At the beginning of the race everything felt good although I made a couple of mistakes on a cold tyre. We were running quite a hard compound today so we needed a few laps to get it warmed up. Once we did that the lap times were good and I felt happy with my pace. Unfortunately in the second half of the race I started to get tired in the changes of direction and I was having to close the gap coming out of the corners to get into the next one - simply because I didn´t have the strength to flick the bike over with the throttle open. The lap times dropped off and when Valentino came past I couldn´t keep up. He´s had an amazing season - he only made one mistake at Assen and the rest of the time he´s been on the podium, winning races. He´s a worthy champion - eight world titles show that - and I want to congratulate him for that. I´m just disappointed that we made two mistakes in the mid-point of the season that allowed him to open up such a big advantage. Anyway, after the recent misfortune we´ve had it was important to come back here with a strong performance and some solid points. Now we can go to Australia with confidence and look to finish the season strongly.´

Marco Melandri - thirteenth

`I got a good start today but I ran off track when I was in the middle of fighting with a group of riders and lost all the positions I´d made up. It´s a shame because it is really hard for me to overtake. I lose so much time on the exit of the corners that I´m always a long way back under braking. We recovered some ground but it wasn´t enough. We´ll see how it goes in Australia, which is one of my all-time favourite tracks and a place Ducati always seem to do well at.´

MotoGP, 2008, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team

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