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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 September 2007, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
Stoner clinches first world title
Casey Stoner
Stoner started the race in ninth place after qualifying
Casey Stoner secured his first MotoGP world title at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

Ducati rider Stoner only needed to finish ahead of Yamaha's Valentino Rossi to claim the championship with three races remaining.

And with Rossi struggling back in 13th, sixth place was enough for 21-year-old Stoner to bag the points he needed.

Italian Loris Capirossi won the race on a Ducati ahead of Frenchman Randy De Puniet in second place.

I have been working for this for so long and it's difficult to know how to react

Casey Stoner

Stoner, who claimed eight championship wins over the season, stretched his lead over five-times world champion Rossi to an unbeatable 83 to become the second youngest ever MotoGP title winner.

Starting ninth on the grid, he made a flying start on the wet track and moved up to fourth ahead of Rossi at the first corner. Anthony West also made a storming start but was forced to take a ride-through penalty after jumping the start.

CASEY STONER FACTFILE
Born: Oct 16, 1985, Kurri-Kurri, Australia
Wins 41 titles by the age of 14
Moves to Britain at 14 to enter road races
2003: Racing at 125cc category wins his first Grand Prix in Valencia
2005: Pushes Spain's Dani Pedrosa all the way for the 250cc World Championship, winning five races
2006: Finishes eighth in first year of MotoGP, racing for Honda
2007: Joins Ducati, wins eight races to become the second youngest premier class champion

Rossi slipped to seventh at the back of the leading pack, but quickly closed the gap on Stoner and passed the Australian with 12 laps remaining as both riders opted to remain out on wet tyres as the track began to dry.

Stoner switched bikes to slick tyres with 10 laps remaining and Rossi responded a lap later, with the Australian dropping back to eighth and the Italian slotting into second place behind compatriot Capirossi.

But Rossi was forced to pull into the pit lane for a second time with eight to go with an apparent front end problem, which saw him slip down the standings as Stoner comfortably cruised home to take the crown ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in three weeks time.

Capirossi secured a hat-trick of victories at Motegi in 47 minutes 05.484 seconds ahead of Randy De Puniet by 10.853secs, with Toni Elias third. Sylvain Guintoli finished fourth ahead of Marco Melandri.

"I have been working for this for so long and it's difficult to know how to react," Stoner said. "It's more relief than anything.

606: DEBATE
fastsisheye

"The race was really hard, nothing seemed to be going right and I thought I'd have to postpone things for another race.

"But Valentino also had his problems and somehow we managed to stay in front of him, which was the aim of the game.

"Over the last few laps I was just trying to stay focused on the job in hand and bring it home for my team."


Japanese MotoGP Grand Prix results, Motegi
1. Loris Capirossi (Italy) Ducati 47:05.484
2. Randy de Puniet (Fra) Kawasaki 47:16.337
3. Toni Elias (Spain) Honda 47:17.100
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Fra) Yamaha 47:17.676
5. Marco Melandri (Ita) Honda 47:34.053
6. Casey Stoner (Aus) Ducati 47:36.663
7. Anthony West (Aus) Kawasaki 47:55.485
8. Alex Barros (Bra) Ducati 47:57.827
9. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 47:59.113
10. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki 48:05.199
11. Chris Vermeulen (Aus) Suzuki 48:08.288
12. Makoto Tamada (Jap) Yamaha 48:14.797
13. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 48:15.183
14. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 48:17.219
15. Shinichi Itoh (Jap) 48:17.774

MotoGP championship standings after the Japanese Grand Prix

1. Casey Stoner (Aus) Ducati 297*
2. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 214
3. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 188
4. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki 156
5. Chris Vermeulen (Aus) Suzuki 152
6. Marco Melandri (Ita) Honda 148
7. Loris Capirossi (Ita) Ducati 130
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 112
9. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 108
10. Alex Barros (Bra) Ducati 91
* clinched world title



SEE ALSO
Stoner closes in on MotoGP title
30 Aug 07 |  Motorbikes
Pedrosa seals pole spot in Japan
22 Sep 07 |  Motorbikes
Stoner cruises to Czech victory
19 Aug 07 |  Motorbikes
Hayden sees off Stoner for pole
15 Sep 07 |  Motorbikes
Stoner claims US MotoGP victory
22 Jul 07 |  Motorbikes
Stoner scorches to Donington win
24 Jun 07 |  Motorbikes
The future of MotoGP?
23 Jun 07 |  Motorbikes
Stoner wins epic Catalunya battle
10 Jun 07 |  Motorbikes
Rossi claims sixth Italian GP win
03 Jun 07 |  Motorbikes


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