The new world champion got the holeshot from the front row of the grid and masterfully controlled the entire race, holding a slender lead over Honda pursuers Marco Melandri and Dani Pedrosa - which at one point slipped to under one second - before he upped the pace, finally crossing the line 1.7 seconds clear of the Italian.

"The bike, the tyres and everything were performing really well but it was a very, very difficult race," confirmed the Ducati star. "The biggest battle I had was being out front by myself and not having anyone to focus on. I've been fine with it all year but this track seems to take it out of you a little bit more.

"Sometime after half-distance I had a couple of front-end loses, so I had to change my style a little bit, the way I was going into corners, to make sure I didn't lose the front any more. That took up a lot more of my energy and concentration, so it was quite hard to keep it up at the end. The reason the gap was going up and down so much was because I was trying to get a break for one lap, just to recover a little bit.

"Unfortunately I'd let them catch too much, so then I'd have to really concentrate for another lap which would take more of my energy away, so I think I'm very lucky and very happy to come out on top. Marco and Dani were fast right to the end, they were putting a lot of pressure on me and they never let me go. After I crossed the line I started to feel a bit dizzy, so it was definitely a hard race," he revealed.

Stoner's tenth success aboard his Desmosedici GP7 came just one week after his home win in Australia, which added the constructors' and teams' titles to the riders' title he secured in Japan last month. The Australian is also the only man to have scored in all 17 races so far.

"Casey was simply unbelievable once again, he rode a perfect race," enthused Ducati MotoGP project manager Livio Suppo. "He didn't push too hard at the beginning because he was using a medium rear while the other top Bridgestone guys had hard rears. He really used his head, the way he managed the race was incredible, the bike and the tyres worked well but for sure he is a genius."

Team-mate Loris Capirossi had an equally tough, but far less rewarding race, finishing in eleventh.

"I don't really know what happened today," confessed the outgoing Ducati rider. "It was a very tough race for me, and it's a shame because this is one of my favourite tracks and I came into this weekend from two very good races. Unfortunately our package didn't work as well today as it did in the previous races, we had some difficulties, so I was fighting with Barros for 11th place, which isn't the kind of result I was hoping for here. I hope things go better at Valencia."