At Qatar 2007, a 21-year-old Casey Stoner rolled up to second place on the grid after qualifying just 0.005 behind Valentino Rossi the day before
Absolutely no one expected what was about to come.
Stoner battled with Valentino Rossi fiercely for the win, however, every time Rossi would make some ground up, Stoner would fly past the Italian with ease on the long main straight as the Ducati had an advantage of 10km/h more than the Yamaha and its power delivery was second to none, shown in the below video.
Rossi vs Stoner at Qatar 2007
The Ducati GP7 was like a bullet with its new 800cc engine, making the bike lighter and even faster than its 990cc predecessor. The double L-twin engine boasted 225hp and speeds of 330km/h, giving it an advantage like no other rider down the straights. The issues the bike had were mainly in the corners, this is where Casey Stoner came in, he was an ex-flat track rider and therefore knew how to handle a bike which was hard to corner, this made for excellent viewing at turn 3 at Phillip Island, renamed ‘Stoner corner’ as Casey would effortlessly slide through it.
Stoner started the season in fantastic fashion taking a win at Qatar with the advantage of the long straight, he finished the second race of the season in fifth before two back to back wins at Istanbul Park and the Shanghai International Circuit, following this with a podium at Le Mans. This run of form very easily handed Stoner a comfortable championship lead which he would never relinquish.
Stoner finished in fourth place at Mugello, a track where you would expect the Ducati to flourish given its 1.141 km (0.709 mile) long straight. Catalunya and Donington Park proved to be more successful with Stoner once again taking two wins and a third-place finish at Assen. His fifth-placed finish at the Sachsenring, Germany meant that we were 10/18 rounds down with Stoner clearly looking to be crowned the MotoGP world champion.
The dominance absolutely did not stop here with Stoner ramping it up taking three wins in a row at Laguna Seca, Brno and Misano respectively giving Ducati a win on home soil. At this point, both Stoner and Ducati could smell the championship and already had one hand on the title with thirteen rounds down and just five to go.
Stoner would follow his trio of wins up with a third-placed finish at Estoril, Stoner took his worst result of the season at Motegi in sixth place, but it was enough to secure 21 year-old Stoner his first MotoGP World Championship, a feat Ducati is yet to repeat. The Australian was the first Aussie champion since Mick Doohan in 1998 and has been the only Australian champion since.
Stoner was the World Champion
Winning the title was not enough to stop this dominance with Stoner winning the next two races at Phillip Island and Malaysia. Stoner would never be beaten again at Phillip Island and won every race there up until his retirement in 2012. Stoner took second place in the last round of the season and was presented with his MotoGP champion medal the same evening.
Stoner had the ability to wipe the floor with his rivals in only his second MotoGP season taking ten wins and fourteen podiums in eighteen races, handing Ducati their only MotoGP class championship. Stoner finished the season with a staggering 367 points, obliterating runner up Dani Pedrosa by 125 points and rival Valentino Rossi by 126.
Featured images – www.motogp.com