Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Phillip Island:
Casey Stoner has won his fourth Australian Grand Prix in a row, taking victory in embarrassingly dominant style. Stoner got the holeshot from the start, and had pulled out a lead of over 1.5 seconds by the time they crossed the line at the end of the first lap. Stoner pushed the pace early, lapping over half a second faster than most of the rest of the grid for the entire race, coming home completely unchallenged to win by a huge margin. Stoner has now won three of the last four races, his Marlboro Ducati team obviously having found a solution to the front-end problems that plagued him earlier in the season, and saw him crash out so often.
The race for 2nd spot was settled almost as early. Ben Spies beat Jorge Lorenzo into Turn 1, but Lorenzo came straight back at the Southern Loop, closing the door on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider and taking on the chase for Stoner. Lorenzo was the only man capable of approaching Stoner's times, but not near enough to even follow Stoner, let alone catch him. Slower than Stoner, faster than the rest, Lorenzo cruised home to 2nd, the Fiat Yamaha rider's 14th podium of the year.
The race only really got interesting behind Lorenzo. After being blocked by Lorenzo, Ben Spies dropped back all the way to 6, Nicky Hayden, Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso getting past. Dovizioso would be the first to leave the group, the Repsol Honda rider encountering a technical problem with his RC212V and pulling in, but taking Dovizoso's place was Valentino Rossi. After a mediocre start from just 8th on the grid, Rossi quickly slashed his way forward to join the group battling for 3rd.
Marco Simoncelli made the early running for the final podium spot, but the San Carlo Gresini rider was soon passed first by Hayden, and then by Spies and Rossi. Simoncelli mounted a stout defence, barging his way forward to 4th on lap 8, after Hayden was run wide by Rossi, as the Fiat Yamaha rider took over 3rd spot, but Hayden soon worked his way back past Spies and Simoncelli, and sat on the tail of Rossi pushing to get past.
The group of four split into two pairs, with Rossi leading Hayden, and Simoncelli leading Spies, until Simoncelli missed a gear coming out of Turn 12 allowing Spies to get ahead of him. The gap between the two groups widened, and the fight for 3rd came down to two future teammates, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, both of whom will be with Marlboro Ducati next year. Rossi had the upper hand in the fight for most of the race, but try as he might, he could not shake off Hayden. Hayden poked and pried a few times into Turn 1, with two laps to go, Hayden finally forced his way past Rossi at the Honda Hairpin to take over 3rd. Rossi tried to counter at MG, but was not close enough.
It came down to the last lap: Rossi got as much drive as he could out of the final corner, and tried to squeeze past Hayden into Doohan Corner, but Hayden had banked on him trying there. Another attempt at the Southern loop was also countered handily, but Rossi had used that corner to line himself up for the Honda Hairpin, diving up the inside of Hayden and into 3rd. Hayden tried to hang on, but Rossi was just far enough ahead to hold the advantage on the exit, taking over 3rd spot. Hayden looked at MG, and tried lining Rossi up for a pass over the line through the final corner, but it was all to no avail. Valentino Rossi took 3rd place, and his 13th podium in 14 races at Phillip Island, while Nicky Hayden was left to settle for 4th, a frustratingly common occurrence for the Kentucky Kid so far this season.
The fight for 5th was settled in Ben Spies' favor, despite some resistance from Marco Simoncelli, Spies clinching the Rookie of the Year award in the process. Spies Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards came home a lonely 7th place, while Aleix Espargaro on the Pramac Ducati held off Marco Melandri on the San Carlo Honda to take 8th. After a mistake-ridden race, Randy de Puniet worked his way back to take a hard-fought 10th place.
|10||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||42'08.763||59.635|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||HONDA||4'49.675||24 laps|