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Stoner wins, Pedrosa falls, Lorenzo champion
28 October 2012
Casey Stoner completed a dream sixth successive victory in his final home Australian MotoGP appearance at Phillip Island.
The Australian won by 9.223sec in a race that saw Jorge Lorenzo wrap up the 2012 World Championship after rival Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the lead on the second lap.
Comfortably fastest in every track session prior to the race, despite a spill in qualifying, Stoner continued in a class of his own during the race.
Third behind Lorenzo and team-mate Pedrosa on the opening lap, Stoner powered past Lorenzo's Yamaha out of the final turn, then took the lead when Pedrosa slid-off at the hairpin on lap two.
The victory was Stoner's first since his mid-August Indianapolis ankle injuries - and fifth of the year - and carried the Australian flag proudly on the slow down lap.
Turn three at Phillip island was named 'Stoner Corner' in his honour on Thursday.
Lorenzo and Pedrosa had long conceded that Stoner would be unbeatable in normal conditions and were instead focussed on the title fight.
Holding a 23-point lead, Lorenzo would be champion if he could score three points more than Pedrosa. Lorenzo had seen Pedrosa's early slip - after which the #26 pulled into the pits and retired - and settled into a safe second thereafter.
Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow was promoted to third by Pedrosa's exit. The Englishman was never threatened as he secured his second MotoGP rostrum.
The best weather of the weekend was present for the race, with clear blue skies and 15 degree air temperatures. Honda LCR's Stefan Bradl was the only rider to pick anything but a soft-soft tyre choice - opting for the harder rear.
That looked to be paying off as he muscled his way past Alvaro Bautista and Andrea Dovizioso as the halfway mark approached, but the German rookie couldn't break away.
The closing stages saw Bradl shuffled back to sixth, with Tech 3's Dovizioso snatching fourth place from Gresini Honda's Bautista by 0.129s and Bradl just 0035s further behind.
Valentino Rossi, unbeaten at Phillip Island from 2001-2005, was already 22 seconds behind Stoner by the midway mark and spent much of the race in an all-Ducati duel with team-met Nicky Hayden.
Rossi concluded his penultimate Ducati rider 37s from victory and 1.2s from Hayden.
Fellow Desmosedici rider Karel Abraham took ninth with Randy de Puniet, who claimed a new CRT qualifying high with ninth on the grid, found himself challenged in the race by team-mate Aleix Espargaro.
The Aspar pair traded places on the penultimate lap, with Espargaro beating de Puniet to the line by 0.043s.
Hector Barbera (Pramac), Danilo Petrucci (Ioda), Michele Pirro (Gresini) and Ivan Silva (Avintia) also completed the race and all scored at least a point.
Local rider Kris McLaren, drafted into the Avintia Blusens squad in place of the injured Yonny Hernandez, didn't start the race after missing the 107% time in practice and qualifying.
Phillip Island was the last in a gruelling run of three 'flyaway' races - Japan, Malaysia and Australia - in three weekends. MotoGP now takes one weekend off before the Valencia finale from November 9-11.
Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies will also miss Valencia following recent shoulder surgery and be replaced by test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
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