MotoGP Phillip Island: Stoner Dominates at Home for the 2009 Australian GP, as the Championship Fight Continues

What Happens When One’s Rival Takes Care of Himself

1:48am EST —Casey Stoner continued his return to MotoGP in style, winning his home 2009 Australian GP and moving up to third in the championship standings.  Valentino Rossi finished second, with Dani Pedrosa, Alex de Angelis, and Colin Edwards making up the top five.  Championship contender Jorge Lorenzo ran into the back of Nicky Hayden and ended his own race at the first turn.  Rossi now leads the championship with 270 points, Lorenzo second (232), Stoner third (195), and Pedrosa fourth (189).  Two races are left to determine the championship as the MotoGP circus heads to Malaysia next weekend.

Alex de Angelis surprised the field and spectators with the fastest time in the morning warm-up, beating Stoner, Rossi, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa to the top of the timesheets.  The sun was shining and the weather was lovely for the start of the premier class event.  Loris Capirossi started from the back of the grid, incurring a penalty because he had to use a new engine for the race.  Stoner started on pole, with Rossi and Pedrosa finishing off the first row.  Lorenzo, Colin Edwards, and de Angelis made up the second row of the grid. Pedrosa got a good start, leading Stoner, Rossi, de Angelis, and Elias as the top five at the end of the first lap.  Lorenzo and Hayden had a coming together at the first turn, forcing Hayden onto the grass and ending Lorenzo’s race, thereby giving Rossi some breathing room for the championship.  By the second lap, Stoner and Rossi had made their way around the Spaniard.  Stoner looked to pull out an early lead, but could never pull more than a second gap on Rossi, with the Italian reeling Stoner in as close as .2, but just under a half-second gap with eight laps to go.  Only two laps later, the gap was just over once second between the two champions.  Rossi, however, upped his pace and soon the gap was back to .455 with four laps to go.  That was the closest Rossi got to Stoner, finishing the race second, 1.935 behind the Australian.  Pedrosa was third, 22.683 behind Stoner.  A few images from the race weekend can also be found here at On Any Sunday, These Days.

Final Positions for the 2009 MotoGP Australian GP:
1. Stoner
2. Rossi +1.935
3. Pedrosa +22.618
4. de Angelis +32.702
5. Edwards +35.885
6. Dovizioso +38.482
7. Melandri +44.461
8. de Puniet +44.941
9. Kallio +54.345
10. Elias +1:01.205
11. Vermeulen +1:05.417
12. Capirossi +1:05.950
13. Talmasci +1:17.951
14. Toseland +1:17.985
15. Hayden +1 lap


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