Monday, October 06, 2008

MotoGP: Home Win for Stoner at Phillip Island

Casey Stoner won his home round of the MotoGP world championship at Phillip Island, Australia from pole position in bright, sunny conditions. Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden were the other front row qualifiers, while Valentino Rossi would only start from twelfth after a big crash in qualifying.

When the red lights went out, Stoner's Ducati leapt out in front to lead the pack through turn one, but Nicky Hayden was snapping at his heels on the Repsol Honda. His team-mate Dani Pedrosa was up into third, but had a bobble on the way into turn two and left the track, falling heavily on the grass but escaping with a bruised knee. Guintoli and Vermeulen also rode off the track at that turn but stayed upright and rejoined, a long way behind the pack.

James Toseland has won at Philip Island in World Superbikes, and he made an incredible start on his Tech 3 Yamaha to grab third place while the field was still shaking itself out. His Texan team-mate Colin Edwards was fourth, ahead of FIAT Yamaha's Lorenzo and LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet. Before the lap was over, Lorenzo would take fourth place. The front pair of Stoner and Hayden were already taking off into the distance.

Having fallen off a few too many times recently, Casey Stoner was back to his usual imperious form in the lead, but Nicky Hayden was all over the back of the local hero, trying to find a way round the red Ducati. Jorge Lorenzo stole third place from Toseland, but the Englishman was having his best race of the year, and stayed with his fellow Yamaha rider. Valentino Rossi was scything through the pack, but had a terrifying moment when Alex de Angelis crashed in front of him, his tumbling bike missing Rossi's by inches. The Doctor was unflustered, and soon made a stunning move as he drafted past both Edwards and Gresini Honda's Shinya Nakano on the main straight, outbraking them both into turn one.

James Toseland retook third place, passing Lorenzo into the frighteningly quick turn one, and the Spanish rookie had Rossi homing in on his rear tyre. It was now a three way Yamaha battle for third place, with Shinya Nakano and Scot Honda's Andrea Dovizioso closing in. Dovi had been dead last into the first turn of the race, having somehow been chewed up and spat out of the pack. Rossi passed Lorenzo for fourth place as they descended Lukey Heights, and now Toseland had the champion to deal with...

Read the rest of my MotoGP Phillip Island race review at Motorbikesport.

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