The story of MotoGP so far this season has been the success of Casey Stoner and his Marlboro Ducati team. This year he has taken nine victories, three podiums and, most importantly, the coveted world championship title, all with two rounds of racing left to go. In fact, he has never finished outside the top six in any race this season. This incredible consistency has denied Valentino Rossi a championship title for the second year in a row, as Stoner sealed the title after a difficult wet and dry Round 15 at Motegi.
Despite a bumpy start to the race weekend at Philip Island, which included two rough falls in Friday's free practice session, Stoner secured a front row start, qualifying in third place behind pole-position man Dani Pedrosa. Rossi, sporting a tasty new red/white colour scheme on his FIAT Yamaha, completed the front row in second position.
Stoner, fresh from his world championship win at Motegi during Round 15, was looking well-placed to take a race win at Philip Island, his home circuit. This was to be his first race on home soil all year, making it all the more important. He did just that, taking a start-to-finish victory, some six seconds ahead of Ducati teammate Loris Capirossi when the chequered flag was raised. This Ducati one-two gave Marlboro Ducati the World Constructor's Championship title. Stoner was the first home-grown winner of the Australian MotoGP since Mick Doohan in 1998.
Stoner was untouchable from the word go when the starting lights went out. Despite starting from third position on the grid, he was first man through turn one. 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden, who holds the outright lap record at Philip Island, was piling on the pressure in the early stages, shadowing Stoner through every turn in the hope that he would run wide or make a mistake. After a brief foray into the lead, Hayden dropped back down the order, however. He was later forced to retire due to teething problems with his Honda RC212V. Stoner was undeterred by Hayden's early challenges, and by lap 15 had carved out a distinct advantage over the rest of the pack. All this time, Rossi, Pedrosa and Marco Melandri had been scrapping over second place, though they were soon demoted to third, fourth and fifth when Loris Capirossi zoomed by them on his Marlboro Ducati. Loris was on incredible form, though by the time he had got himself into second place he was too far behind Stoner to make an attempt at catching him. Stoner crossed the line in first place with a 6-second advantage, with Capirossi second and Rossi third. Pedrosa was a distant fourth, whilst Alex Barros and Randy de Puniet rounded out the top six.
Speaking after the race, Stoner said, "I've been working very hard for a lot of years trying to win here. This whole season has been magical for us, we came here with a lot less pressure after winning the title in Japan, so I could really enjoy this race. It's definitely my best victory so far. I have to thank the Australian fans, it's good to see so many of them here and I hope they've had a lot of fun, I really appreciate it."
1 -Casey Stoner (Marlboro Ducati)
2- Loris Capirossi (Marlboro Ducati)
3 -Valentino Rossi (FIAT Yamaha)
4 - Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda)
5 - Alex Barros (D'Antin Ducati)
6 - Randy De Puniet (Kawasaki Racing)
1 -Casey Stoner (322)
2- Valentino Rossi (230)
3 - Dani Pedrosa (201)
4 - John Hopkins (165)
5 - Chris Vermeulen (160)
6 - Marco Melandri (154)