An ecstatic Casey Stoner expressed his relief at managing to win at least once more before retiring from MotoGP, as he dominated his home race in Australia.
With the ankle he injured at Indianapolis still recovering full function when he returned to the grid at Motegi, it looked like he would be hard-pressed to return to the top step of the podium in his remaining races before quitting the sport. But he dominated all weekend in Australia, winning from pole by nine seconds.
Stoner has now won every MotoGP race at Phillip Island since 2007.
"My time's counting down now," he said. "In the last three races we've gone from the front of the third row, to the front of the second row, to the front row, and the same with results: we went fifth, third, and now first.
"It's been a fantastic build-up. It was very important to me to win another race before I retire, and to do it at my home grand prix here was just a fairytale."
A record crowd of 122,470 turned out at Phillip Island over the weekend. As well as Stoner's victory, they also got to see Australians Arthur Sissis and Anthony West on the podium in Moto3 and Moto2.
"This whole weekend here has gone almost ideally," said Stoner. "The crowd, the fans, everything has just been amazing. I've never seen Cowes so busy and I know a big part of that is people here to watch me ride. It gives me a great feeling and great pride to be out there as an Aussie making everybody proud.
"It was a fantastic day today. We've topped off the end of a difficult year, but there's no better way to do it than in front of your home crowd, and a crowd this big and enthusiastic was really something else."