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Superb Stoner wins in Australia

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Stoner celebrates in style after winning his home grand prix

Casey Stoner led from the start to win the Australian MotoGP ahead of new world champion Valentino Rossi, who clinched second from 12th on the grid.

Home favourite Stoner made light of his broken wrist to produce a flawless performance at Phillip Island.

Rossi passed Nicky Hayden on the final lap, leaving the American to settle for the last place on the podium.

Britain's James Toseland finished sixth to equal his best finish in his maiden MotoGP season.

It was almost even better for Toseland, who was in superb form and hanging on to fourth until the final few laps as he battled spectacularly with Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Shinya Nakano.

But Toseland was unable to mark his 28th birthday with a new best performance in MotoGP as he conceded two places when Lorenzo passed him to take fourth and Nakano also went through for fifth.

Earlier, Toseland had for a while held off the challenge of Rossi, who stormed up the field from a lowly 12th following his crash in qualifying.

Mixed emotions for Toseland

However, after the pair traded places for a couple of laps, the Italian eventually passed and was able to concentrate on reeling in Hayden.

Toseland said: "I was really trying to save the tyre as I knew it was going to be difficult for the last five or six laps, and it was.

"Valentino came past and I really had to push to the maximum and that really spoilt my chances on the last couple of laps.

"I was really disappointed that I didn't finish fourth because I really should have done but I wanted to stay with Valentino because that was for a podium finish.

"But it was nice to pass Valentino twice - the first time in my career, so that was great. And it was nice to put a good show on."

Six times world champion Rossi admitted he did not find it easy to pass Toseland and was happy to have clinched second place, given his starting position.

"For me it was a very exciting race, I couldn't relax for a second. Starting on the fourth row is very difficult but I was confident we had a good pace," he said.

"The battle with Toseland was very tough but then I saw Nicky coming closer lap by lap. Second is the best result we could get."

Stoner's victory virtually assures him of second place in the championship after rival Dani Pedrosa failed to finish after crashing on the first lap.

The Spaniard lost control at the first corner, running onto the grass and suffering a spill from which he never recovered.

Stoner celebrates return to form

While Stoner was pleased with his victory, he also reflected on the mistakes that have seen him lose his title to Rossi.

"We've had a bit of an up and down weekend but I was confident for the race," he said. "Nicky (Hayden) was pressing me at the start but he dropped off and I could build an advantage.

"My two crashes is when we really lost the championship but Valentino's ridden really well this season."

Earlier, Marco Simoncelli extended his lead in the 250cc championship and Mike di Meglio of France wrapped up the 125cc world title with wins in their races after starting from pole position.


Australian MotoGP results:

1. Casey Stoner (Australia) Ducati 40:56.643
2. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 41:03.147
3. Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Honda 41:03.848
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 41:08.143
5. Shinya Nakano (Japan) Honda 41:08.557
6. James Toseland (Britain) Yamaha 41:08.886
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Honda 41:09.423
8. Colin Edwards (U.S.) Yamaha 41:22.563
9. Randy de Puniet (France) Honda 41:22.680
10. Loris Capirossi (Italy) Suzuki 41:23.442
11. Toni Elias (Spain) Ducati 41:23.670
12. Anthony West (Australia) Kawasaki 41:44.451
13. John Hopkins (U.S.) Kawasaki 41:44.976
14. Sylvain Guintoli (France) Ducati 41:45.542
15. Chris Vermeulen (Australia) Suzuki 41:45.578

World championship standings:

1. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 332
2. Casey Stoner (Australia) Ducati 245
3. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 209
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 182
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Honda 145
6. Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Honda 131
7. Colin Edwards (U.S.) Yamaha 126
8. Chris Vermeulen (Australia) Suzuki 118
9. Shinya Nakano (Japan) Honda 106
10. Loris Capirossi (Italy) Suzuki 102
Other:
11. James Toseland (Britain) Yamaha 100

250cc race result:

1. Marco Simoncelli, Italy, Gilera, 39 minutes, 02.553 seconds.
2. Alvaro Bautista, Spain, Aprilia, 39:02.776.
3. Mika Kallio, Finland, KTM, 39:17.003.
4. Julian Simon, Spain, KTM, 39:17.031.
5. Alex Debon, Spain, Aprilia, 39:28.779.

125cc race result:

1. Mike di Meglio, France, Derbi, 37:55.589
2. Stefan Bradl, Germany, Aprilia, 38:05.844.
3. Gabor Talmacsi, Hungary, Aprilia, 38:08.695.
4. Andrea Iannone, Italy, Aprilia, 38:08.738.
5. Pol Espargaro, Spain, Derbi, 38:22.385.



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see also
Matt Roberts' MotoGP round-up
05 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Stoner to have crucial operation
02 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
02 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP world championship
28 Sep 08 |  Motorbikes
Rossi celebrates 'toughest title'
28 Sep 08 |  Motorbikes


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