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GP Week : Issue 173
Australia's Day MotoGP legend Mick Doohan rode again at Phillip Island, exercising a Honda RC213V MotoGP bike in Repsol colours at a respectable pace on Saturday and Sunday. He had the bike fitted with a thumb- operated rear brake, as on his own five-times victorious two-stroke NSR500 after he wrecked his right leg in 1992. 37 GPWEEK.com // 37 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Spain hogs most of the racing glory, but there is something different about Australia. Certainly was this year. A record crowd of 53,100 had come to see Stoner in his farewell home ride. He rewarded them wholeheartedly. But he was not the only one. Each of the smaller classes threw up a national hero of its own. One of them shows that if Stoner is going, there are others coming along. Moto2’s star was Anthony West, a former 250 GP winner (Assen, in the rain, 2003) whose career since has seen nothing but hardship: at one point a dedicated Australian fan volunteered to sell a kidney to raise backing for the hard-luck demon wet rider. His career was rescued (again) at the last minute in Moto2, but it was not until his Qatari federation- backed team switched to a Speed Up chassis that he started to regain some of his old flair. He was back to the rostrum for the first time since 2005 in the wet again in Malaysia. “It boosted my confidence,” he said. A week later, a fine ride got him second place at home. Moto3’s hero is one of a couple of potential stars in the class. While Jack Miller (frequently top man on a stock Honda) was one of those penalised for jumping the start, ex-junior speedway rider Arthur Sissis showed all the flair and aggression of that demanding discipline to claim a debut-season first rostrum. And Stoner? If it’s best to quit while you’re winning ... well, he did that pretty convincingly. What a farewell appearance. He’ll leave a big hole when he’s gone. MOTOGP >>> PHILLIP ISLAND Someone old, someone new, someone leaving racing blue