Dani Pedrosa collected his third third-place finish in a row during Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, after losing touch with race leaders Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi.

The Repsol Honda rider rocketed from third on the grid into an early lead, then repelled a first lap assault from Stoner, re-passing the Australian after he'd overtaken into the Honda hairpin.

"We led for a short while from the start - it's a shame they don't award points for getting the holeshot!" joked the fast starting Spaniard.

Still leading at the end of lap one, Pedrosa was powerless to prevent Stoner and then Rossi from forcing their way past shortly after. Pedrosa eventually finished 22 seconds from victory, but ten seconds clear of fourth placed Alex de Angelis.

"We were not as strong as we thought for the race," Pedrosa admitted. "We lost a lot of time due to the crash in qualifying yesterday and they [Stoner and Rossi] were going superfast today.

"Lap times were much quicker than yesterday. They were going away all the time and I couldn't follow, so I just tried to keep my rhythm.

"It's a little frustrating of course not to be able to fight at the front, but considering the crash yesterday this result was OK and I'd like to say thanks to the team because they worked hard this weekend.

"We will try to improve and go faster for the next race. Sepang is a track that I like, so I'm looking forward to next weekend and I hope we can get another strong result," Pedrosa concluded.

Victory for Stoner means he has retaken third in the world championship from Pedrosa by six points with two rounds to go.

Pedrosa's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso left Australia with a reduced seven point lead over Colin Edwards in the fight for fifth in the standings. The Italian finished sixth on Sunday, one place behind the satellite Yamaha rider.

"Once I was clear of the battle for sixth I was able to ride at a good pace and realistically I think I could have fought with de Angelis and Edwards in this race," claimed Dovi. "It's just a shame that I lost time starting from tenth and then fighting with Kallio, de Puniet and Elias - which is what I feared might happen."

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