MotoGP Philip Island Race Results & Full Report: Stoner Dominates at Home While Rossi, Hayden Fight Over 3rd

What Happens When Racing Remains Exciting, Even If Not at the Front

1:58am EST — Casey Stoner continued his domination of his home race, leading from lights out to checkered flag, despite a split second where second place finisher Jorge Lorenzo stuck his front wheel ahead on the first turn.  There was no looking back, as Stoner ended the race with eight and a half seconds on the new world champion.  Valentino Rossi continued his return to form with a ride from eight to third, fighting hard with Nicky Hayden on the way.  The American spent much of the early part of the race fighting with fifth through seventh place finishers Ben Spies, Marco Simoncelli, Colin Edwards, and Rossi, before the two premier class champions left the pack behind for a spirited fight in the final laps over the las podium position.  Andrea Dovizioso was the only rider to not finish the race, with mechanical difficulties, while Randy de Puniet fought back to finish tenth after running through the mud and muck about halfway through.

Stoner qualified on pole during Saturday’s qualifying on his twenty-fifth birthday at his home race, with rain falling to end the session early.  Lorenzo qualified second, followed by Spies, who had led much of the middle of the session, Simoncelli, and Edwards as the top five.  Hayden ended his session a bit earlier that everyone else, falling on the greasy track just before the rain began to fall earnestly.  He qualified sixth, nonetheless, with de Puniet just beating out Rossi to start seventh.  Dani Pedrosa qualified fifteenth, but chose not to start the race, nor did also injured Loris Capirossi, who qualified seventeenth.  In the morning warmup, Stoner led the way yet again, leading second fastest Simoncelli by nearly two seconds.  Rossi, Dovizioso, and Edwards rounded out the fastest five.  Spies and Lorenzo were the slowest in the wet-dry session.  Simoncelli, Hayden, and Spies spent some time working their way through the muddy grass.

The sun was shining but it was still quite cold as the lights went out on Philip Island, Stoner led, barely, into the first turn with Lorenzo just behind as Spies was up to third, with Simoncelli attempting a move on Spies as Hayden went around him, as did Dovizioso.  Rossi was down to ninth, with Edwards just ahead of him.  Stoner led Lorenzo (by a second and a half), Hayden, Simoncelli, Dovizioso, and Spies as the top six after one lap.  Through the next lap, Simoncelli had barely taken third from Hayden at the line and into Doohan, and Rossi eighth from Melandri.  Stoner was already checking out, with a two second lead after two laps.  Second through sixth each had less than a half second between them.  On L3, Hayden took the final podium position through a scrap with Simoncelli, though he first had to hold off Dovizioso.  Rossi had made his way up to sixth.  The third lap had Spies also overtaking Simoncelli on the back straight, then overtaking Hayden for third while Dovizioso was dropping back out of the race with seeming mechanical issues.  It was Spies, Hayden, Simoncelli, Rossi for third through sixth at the end of the fifth lap.  Rossi took Simoncelli with a bit of nerve.  Simoncelli was looking up the inside of Rossi while he did the same to Hayden, proving MotoGP is not boring, so long as one conveniently forgets Stoner running away with the race at the front.  A lap later, Spies led the four, ahead of Hayden as Rossi was ahead of Simoncelli, then behind, then ahead again.  Rossi was aroudn Hayden nearly with a shove, bringing Simoncelli along with him, though he did not bring the younger Italian when he next overtook Spies as the seventh lap ended.  Simoncelli and Hayden were next around Spies. 

By L8, Stoner had three seconds on Lorenzo, who was over six seconds ahead of his teammate, who had made his way up to third.  Rossi had just a half second on Simoncelli in third, with Hayden less than a tenth behind and threatening.  He led the American train with Spies and Edwards close behind in sixth and seventh.  Hayden did manage to take third from Rossi on the straight, but Rossi was back ahead through Doohan nine laps in.  By the end of the tenth lap, Stoner had nearly three and a half seconds on Lorenzo, then 7.5s to Rossi, Hayden, Simoncelli, Spies, Edwards,, Espargaro, Melandri, and Kallio the top ten.  Spies had made his way around Simoncelli for fifth by the end of L12 while Stoner’s lead continued to grow, though at a slower pace.  L13 and about the halfway point put Stoner’s lead at four seconds.

de Puniet was through the messy grass and gravel on L14, dropping him to the back, while Stoner continued to have a lonely race at the front, over four seconds ahead of Lorenzo, who had nearly ten seconds on Rossi.  The racing had begun to settle just a bit though L15.  Stoner and Lorenzo’s individual and collective lead on those behind them continued to grow while Hayden went about his business of chasing down Rossi and third position.  With ten laps to go, Sonte had just about five seconds on Lorenzo with Rossi, Hayden, Spies, Simoncelli, Edwards, Melandri, Espargaro, and Kallio as the top ten.  As the laps ticked down, Hayden continued to close on Rossi, with less than a hundredth separating them at the end of L20.  Five laps left and Hayden was three tenths behind Rossi, with Spies just .003 off of Simoncelli.  Stoner had a seven second lead at the end of L23, with Spies having taken fifth from Simoncelli and immediately putting a bit of a gap.  Hayden was through at the hairpin with two and a half left, pushing to keep a time gap and Rossi behind.  Rossi was unable to immediately take the position back, Hayden keeping the podium for another lap.  For the final lap, Stoner was eight seconds ahead with a solitary Lorenzo in second while third was crowded.  Rossi took a very close look on the first turn of their final lap, but was not around.  Rossi was looking around the outside before the hairpin to go well on the inside through the turn.  Hayden looked to fight back as the bike wiggled on him, but he was simply not able to keep the bike on a tight enough line to take the position, finishing just .038 behind the Italian.

Final Positions for the 2010 Australian Grand Prix:
1. Stoner
2. Lorenzo +8.598
3. Rossi +17.997
4. Hayden +18.035
5. Spies +22.211
6. Simoncelli +25.017
7. Edwards +35.168
8. Espargaro +46.194
9. Melandri +46.294
10. de Puniet +59.635
11. Kallio +59.664
12.  Bautista +59.732
13. Aoyama +1:05.029
14. Barbera +1:05.053


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