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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

Casey Stoner meets a crowd of well wishers in Melbourne
Stoner will be nice and relaxed now the championship is in the bag

Australia has gone Casey Stoner at the moment as the country prepares to host the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island this weekend.

MotoGP's new champion seems to be on every TV programme and his image is everywhere, which is great news for the sport.

Not many Australians had heard of him before his success but they all have now.

They need something to celebrate as they have certainly been changing the subject when the Rugby World Cup has been brought up!

Stoner will be nice and relaxed now the championship is in the bag.

The pressure is off yet he will want to get stuck in and win the race in front of his home fans so he hasn't quite got the pipe and slippers on yet.

He will be trying his absolute best, but I'm not tipping him to win as surely his fairytale season can't continue with victory in his own country?

The championship is done and dusted and most rides for next season have been sorted so the majority of the field are racing for pride.

That won't stop it being a competitive race.

PHILLIP ISLAND MOTOGP
125cc, 250cc races live: Sunday, BBCi (Freeview channel 302), 0245-0515
Race: Sunday, BBC ONE and BBC Sport website, 0545-0700 BST
Race repeat: Sunday, BBC ONE and BBC Sport website, 1300-1405 BST

I expect Valentino Rossi to come storming back to show he is a still a force and Dani Pedrosa will also look to put in a race-winning performance.

All the talk recently has been that Dorna, MotoGP's owners, are set to announce that the sport is set to have a one tyre only policy for next season.

This may be announced as soon as the next race in Malaysia and we could see just Michelin or Bridgestone or someone else supplying tyres for all the bikes on the grid.

This policy is currently followed in World Superbikes with Pirelli being the tyre supplier and this week British Superbikes said they had put their tyre contract out to tender.

If it goes to tender for MotoGP my money would be on Bridgestone.

Whether it happens or not I am not sure, but I don't think it is a good idea.

On to better news, especially for us Brits.

Firstly, Chaz Davies will be riding for the Pramac D'antin team weekend, which is excellent news.

And secondly, James Toseland secured his second World Superbikes title.

The Briton will ride for Tech 3 Yamaha next season and that is a fantastic boost for the sport in this country.

He arrives on the grid with the credibility of being a two-time World Superbike champion and that really gives you weight amongst your fellow riders.

It's very difficult to predict how he will get on but he has proven he is a solid, strong, methodical rider.

He is not a crash and burn guy so he could do very well.

I think he would be disappointed if he didn't notch a few top six finishes, but for him to finish on the podium might be expecting a little too much.

Back to the race this weekend and the weather forecast isn't that good, which has got the wet weather riders like Chris Vermeulen licking their lips.

It can get very cold and chilly down here - people think that Australia is 365 days of sunshine, but in Phillip Island it can get quite cold and chilly.

It's a beautiful track though and a real old school circuit.

If you asked the riders they would probably put it in their top two favourites.

Prediction: 1. Rossi 2. Pedrosa 3. Stoner

You can now watch MotoGP races live on this website (UK users only).



SEE ALSO
Toseland relieved after title win
09 Oct 07 |  Motorbikes
Toseland claims Superbikes title
07 Oct 07 |  Motorbikes
Toseland 'gambles' on MotoGP move
01 Aug 07 |  Motorbikes
Davies handed shock MotoGP return
29 Sep 07 |  Motorbikes
Stoner clinches first world title
23 Sep 07 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP standings
20 May 07 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP coverage on the BBC
01 Feb 07 |  Motorbikes
BBC pundits on MotoGP 2007
08 Mar 07 |  Motorbikes
Contact the motorbikes TV team
14 Mar 06 |  Motorbikes


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