Ducati hail Stoner

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PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia, October 18- Ducati believe they have finally found the right balance in their bikes after Casey Stoner's stunning weekend victory in the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.Stoner destroyed his rivals as he charged to an 8.5 second victory over new world champion Jorge Lorenzo and seven-times world MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi on Sunday.

Stoner surged past Rossi into third place in the championship standings with his third victory in his last four GPs with everything pointing to Ducati finishing the season on a high.

This season’s title has gone for the 2007 world champion Stoner, but Ducati are eyeing further wins at Estoril on October 31 and Valencia on November 7 to build a winning bike for the 2011 season.

"Our bike is working really well now," Ducati team manager Vittoriano Guareschi said.

"I would say we have found the right balance for it over the last five races and now we have two left that I think we can do well in."

Stoner won at Aragon and Motegi before an error of judgement cost him on the opening lap at Sepang before his eye-catching showing at Phillip Island.

"Casey was simply incredible this weekend. He was fast from the start here in practice, he took pole position, set an unbelievable pace in warm-up and then produced a frightening race," Guareschi said.

"We don’t know where his true limit was in the race because I think if he needed to he could have won by an even bigger margin."

Rossi was another to marvel at Stoner’s stellar performance as he left his rivals flailing in his slipstream.

"Today Casey was riding in a different sport and I want to say congratulations to him," Rossi said. "The podium was the maximum for us but it was still a hard fight to get there."

Lorenzo said he was powerless to prevent Stoner from charging away to victory.

"We knew Casey would be hard to beat," he said.

"I tried my best, riding as hard as I could at the start and occasionally it seemed like I was closing a little bit, but then on the next lap Casey would extend his lead again by a few tenths.

"I kept trying but I didn’t have much hope and halfway through I decided it was better not to take risks. I really enjoyed riding here and sliding a bit on my M1 (bike), it was fun but this was Casey’s race."

Stoner, who stormed to his fourth consecutive Australian MotoGP, said he wanted to continue in his rich vein of form through to the end of the season.

"I have to admit that before the race I was feeling the pressure, I was more nervous than I normally am but maybe I should be like that more often because I didn’t make mistakes," he said.

"I am really happy with the way I rode at Phillip Island but every single person in the team has done a great job this weekend so my thanks go to them and I hope we can keep it going to the end of the season."

Lorenzo is looking forward to the final races as he continues to celebrate his maiden world MotoGP title.

"I have my first chance to go home to Mallorca as world champion and to celebrate with my friends and family," he said.

"Fiat Yamaha has won the teams’ title and this shows what a great season it has been for us all, with everyone working at the maximum."

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