Honda rider Casey Stoner bagged in his second MotoGP World Championship title by winning the Australian Grand Prix and he won it for the fifth successive year.
His solitary title rival Jorge Lorenzo could not start the race owing to the injuries he sustained in his warm-up lap crash and it seems Stoner knew he had to finish at a simple sixth place to earn the championship title for himself by making the title beyond the Spaniard’s reach.
Still, from pole position, the Honda rider showed not a single intention of riding merely for points and an easy victory. He had managed to build a four-second lead by lap four and was in a class of his own on the raceday. Cassey’s ninth win of this year came on his 26th birthday and also gave him his first championship since 2007! Icing on the cake is that he marked Honda’s first riders’ title ever since the 800cc bikes have been introduced.
Behind him, Nicky Hayden made a superb start from row three and fantastic riding made him move into second place by the first corner, but the Ducati rider seemed to be powerless and helpless to keep the Honda rider from grabbing the top spot on podium.
Simoncelli on Gresini Honda pulled clear of Hayden and looked set for an easy second place, but appeared to be too cautious when rain began to fall with three laps to go and allowed Dovizioso to pass by at Turn 12. Undeterred, the Gresini rider aggressively overtook and made his way past his countryman into Honda corner on the final lap to steal second and earn the best ever finish of his MotoGP career.
Pedrosa, who had been involved in the ‘dog-fight’ with Dovizioso, was another to ease off in the rain and had to settle for fourth spot. Bautista was on course for fifth, but crashed when the showers came, as also did Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3 Yamaha), Hiroshi Aoyama (Gresini) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Ducati).
With Hayden and Pramac Ducati rider Loris Capirossi pitting to switch to their wet bikes, Colin Edwards brought his Tech 3 Yamaha up to fifth by the flag, ahead of Randy de Puniet, who recovered from running on at Honda corner earlier in the race to take a season’s best result on his Pramac Ducati.
Hayden ended up at the seventh spot, riding ahead of the LCR Honda of Toni Elias – the Spaniard hence claiming his best result of this year – and Capirossi. Racing legend Valentino Rossi crashed out at mid-distance, losing the front end of his Ducati after making a too bold a passing move on Bautista at MG.