5 October 2008
Stoner wins home Australian GP.
Stoner, Rossi and Hayden celebrated on the podium in front of a sea of fans assembled on the home straight. Rossi threw his kneesliders into the cheering crowd whilst Hayden went one better, marking his second rostrum of the season by pitching his boots to the fans.
Behind the top three, a four-way fight for fourth raged right to the chequered flag, with Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finally prevailing.
After being overtaken by Rossi for the final time, Toseland stuck within one second of the eight time world champion until lap 18, when he appeared to lose a little pace and was instead left to fight a defensive battle.
As Rossi had found, Toseland was exceptionally hard to pass - the Englishman being strong out of the final turn and staying to the right along the home straight, forcing his opponents to try an outside pass into turn one, and gave away no ground under braking.
Lorenzo made several unsuccessful attempts to pass into turn one, but he finally succeeded when Dovizioso dived inside them both with three laps to go. That move took Toseland's eye off Lorenzo and, as the #52 adjusted his line to try and retake Dovi, he ran wide.
Estoril winner Lorenzo was able to hold fourth to the finish, whilst Toseland, Dovizioso and Nakano exchanged positions to the flag. Nakano, riding a factory-spec Gresini Honda, had been content to watch for most of the race, but was able to exploit Toseland and Dovizioso's battle to move ahead of them both on the final lap.
Toseland was thus left to collect his sixth sixth-place finish of the season, with fellow rookie Dovizioso - tenth at the end of lap one - seventh and over 13secs clear of Colin Edwards. LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet, who made a poor start from fourth on the grid, was a fraction behind the Texan with Loris Capirossi the lead Suzuki at the GSV-R's bogey track, in tenth.
Toni Elias capitalised on the first lap action - which included Alice team-mate Sylvain Guintoli and Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen running off track at turn two - by rising to eleventh, with Anthony West the top Kawasaki in twelfth at what looks like being his final home grand prix.
Marco Melandri, a former Phillip Island MotoGP winner, finished 1min 11secs behind his victorious team-mate, in last place.
Australian Grand Prix:
9. de Puniet
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