Stoner goes flag-to-flag in Australia
In front of 50,541 spectators at Phillip Island, Casey Stoner repeated his 2007 home victory in the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. The Ducati rider led the race from start to finish after taking off from pole, and eventually crossed the line some six seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
|Casey Stoner storms to a home track win on Phillip Island|
Stoner’s fifth victory of the year, combined with a first lap crash from Dani Pedrosa, means that last year’s MotoGP World Champion is all-but assured of the runner-up spot in the standings in 2008. Pedrosa picked up a contusion to his left leg in the fall, but was otherwise unharmed in the incident.
Stoner’s future Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden attempted to keep up with the local hero over the course of the race, but the Australian proved too hot to handle in the final third. From then on Hayden had to be aware of the threat of newly crowned MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi lurking in the shadows, as the Fiat Yamaha stalked the man who beat him to the title in 2006.
Rossi overtook Hayden on the final lap, and held off the American’s attempts to re-pass him as the checkered flag loomed. Starting from his worst position on the grid of the entire season, Rossi’s move up to second from twelfth was nothing short of majestic.
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo came home fourth in the battle of the race, involving himself, Shinya Nakano, James Toseland and Andrea Dovizioso. Toseland had been the chief protagonist of the action over the course of the 27-lap race, duking it out with Rossi and Lorenzo in the early stages and pushing hard for the podium on his 28th birthday. The Tech 3 Yamaha rider gave perhaps his best performance to date onboard a MotoGP bike, and was unlucky to be hustled by the more experienced Nakano and relegated to sixth.
Colin Edwards, Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi rounded off the first ten past the line, whilst home rider Chris Vermeulen was denied the chance to push for a higher position by his running off-track on the opening lap.
Rossi’s charge up the field could easily have been halted by the only other crash apart from that of Pedrosa, when Alex de Angelis hit the ground just a few yards in front of him.
1 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 40'56.643
2 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 41'03.147
3 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 41'03.848
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 41'08.143
5 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 41'08.557
6 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha YAMAHA 41'08.886 243
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP HONDA 41'09.423
8 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha YAMAHA 41'22.563
9 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 41'22.680
10 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 41'23.442
11 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team DUCATI 41'23.670
12 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 41'44.451
13 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 41'44.976
14 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team DUCATI 41'45.542
15 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 41'45.578
16 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 42'08.410
Not finished first lap
15 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA
1 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 332
2 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 245
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 209
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team 182
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP 145
6 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team 131
7 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha 126
8 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 118
9 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 106
10 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 102
11 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 100
12 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team 91
13 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team 60
14 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini 55
15 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP 54
16 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 51
17 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team 50
18 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team 46
19 Ben SPIES USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 20
20 Jamie HACKING USA Kawasaki Racing Team 5
21 Tadayuki OKADA JPN Repsol Honda Team 2