Eleventh for Stoner's team-mate Marco Melandri
was actually a substantial improvement on his practice form, while John Hopkins
finished his Kawasaki debut in a disappointing twelfth.
A fast late-race fall for Alex de Angelis
meant Shinya Nakano
was the only San Carlo Honda Gresini rider to reach the flag, in 13th, while Alice Team riders Toni Elias
and Sylvain Guintoli
collected the final world championship points for 14th and 15th.
Hopkins' factory team-mate Anthony West
was spared the embarrassment of finishing last, but only after countryman Chris Vermeulen
was forced to make a pit stop due to apparent tyre problems.
Qatar Grand Prix:
9. de Puniet