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Stoner acknowledges inspirational Doohan

Stoner acknowledges inspirational Doohan

As both riders were honoured for their respective World Championship wins at Phillip Island on Friday, Casey Stoner told about his admiration for MotoGP Legend Mick Doohan.

`MotoGP Champions Towers´ were presented to the premier class´ Australian World Champions to acknowledge their achievements on Friday at Phillip Island, bringing together 2007 title winner Casey Stoner and the legendary Mick Doohan.

As part of MotoGP´s celebrations marking the 60th season of Grand Prix racing this year, 1987 title-winner Wayne Gardner and Barry Sheene´s son Freddie - on behalf of his father - also collected trophies, and speaking at the event Stoner was quick to pay tribute to Australian hero Doohan, who was a five-time 500cc World Champion during an uninterrupted period of dominance in the late 1990s.

Doohan won his quintet of consecutive World titles from 1994-98 having incredibly fought back from injury when at one stage he was close to losing his right leg due to medical complications, following a horror crash in practice at Assen when leading the 1992 championship by 65 points.

Currently struggling with a wrist injury which causes him fatigue and pain during practice and races, Stoner will need surgery at the end of this season having admitted that otherwise his career could be in danger – though he does not compare his own situation to the suffering Doohan endured.

The Ducati Marlboro rider stated, `It was a big privilege to receive the trophy at the same time as these guys as I grew up watching them and they have shaped my career. You don´t need to hear from the people directly when you can see what they have done (…referring to Doohan´s injury and comeback). With my wrist we can only do the best job possible to recover from it and once we have had the operation I am sure everything is going to be fine. It is not like the kind of injury Mick had.´

On-track on Friday, Stoner ended day one of the 2008 visit to his home track as the fastest rider courtesy of a 1'30.094 effort in the dry morning session, keeping him more than half a second ahead of second quickest participant Valentino Rossi.

Although Stoner said he found he going easier physically in the wet afternoon free practice he was 1.765s off Nicky Hayden´s pace-setting best, in fourth place on the timesheet.

`This morning in the dry session it was a lot harder, wet conditions are not really an issue at the moment,´ Stoner revealed. `In the dry the changing of direction seems to be a little bit difficult. That is why I would like to try and get the bike set-up a little easier to ride and then we might be ok.´

MotoGP, 2008, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Casey Stoner, Fiat Yamaha Team

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