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Stoner wins home GP

(L to R) Capirossi, Stoner and Rossi

Casey Stoner took what he called "my best victory so far" in the 2007 GMC Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on a brilliant day's racing at Phillip Island on Sunday.

Stoner fired his red Ducati into the lead on the opening corner of the 27-lap race and won going away from team-mate Loris Capirossi. It was his ninth victory of the year and his first at his home track.

The 1-2 finish capped a brilliant day for the charismatic Italian outfit as Ducati added the Constructors' crown to the Riders' title Stoner sealed last time out at Motegi in Japan.

"It's unbelievable to see how many people turned out," added Stoner as a race-day crowd of 50,425 carried the three-day attendance to a record 115,058.

With the Ducatis uncatchable, it was left to Valentino Rossi's Yamaha to make up the podium as the former World Champion pushed his bike to the limit – and nearly beyond, running onto the grass out of Turn 12 on only the second lap in his bid to keep up.

"It's always fun to finish on the podium at Phillip Island," said Rossi. "Because there is such a big crowd out the front – it's like a big party!"

Aussies Chris Vermeulen on a Suzuki and Anthony West for Kawasaki were caught up in an absorbing midfield battle and finished eighth and 12th respectively as 17 of the 19 bikes made it to the finish.

"You can only get so much of a good start from 16th on the grid," said Vermeulen ruefully.

"But I did get a solid run into Turn One, and slowly moved my way forward during the race.

"The bike just wants to spin up around Turns 11 and 12 in particular, and that's where you get a lot of momentum at Phillip Island."
The two men who didn't make it to the chequered flag were outgoing World Champion Nicky Hayden, who thrashed his Honda and its rear tyre mercilessly in the opening laps but saw the bike expire at half-distance, and Britain's Chaz Davies on the satellite Ducati.

Pole-sitter Dani Pedrosa also showed up well in the opening laps on the Honda but was powerless to fight off the works Ducati duo in the later stages of the race, coming home fourth.

Brazil's Alex Barros shrugged off the fact that, like Stoner, he has a birthday next week – only it's his 37th, not his 22nd like Casey's – to bring his satellite Ducati home in a fine fifth place ahead of France's Randy de Puniet, having a great finish to his final season on the green machine.

Pos  Rider             Bike           Time/Behind
 1.  Casey Stoner      Ducati    (B)  41:12.244
 2.  Loris Capirossi   Ducati    (B)  +   6.763
 3.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha    (M)  +  10.038
 4.  Daniel Pedrosa    Honda     (M)  +  11.663
 5.  Alex Barros       Ducati    (B)  +  19.475
 6.  Randy de Puniet   Kawasaki  (B)  +  27.313
 7.  John Hopkins      Suzuki    (B)  +  29.243
 8.  Chris Vermeulen   Suzuki    (B)  +  34.833
 9.  Colin Edwards     Yamaha    (M)  +  35.073
10.  Marco Melandri    Honda     (B)  +  36.971
11.  Carlos Checa      Honda     (M)  +  37.721
12.  Anthony West      Kawasaki  (B)  +  38.426
13.  Shinya Nakano     Honda     (M)  +  47.430
14.  Sylvain Guintoli  Yamaha    (D)  +  54.324
15.  Toni Elias        Honda     (B)  +1:10.471
16.  Makoto Tamada     Yamaha    (D)  +1:12.904
17.  Kurtis Roberts    KR        (M)  +1:13.020


     Rider             Bike           Laps
     Chaz Davies       Ducati    (B)   13
     Nicky Hayden      Honda     (M)   12

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