Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner took his final MotoGP win at his home circuit of Phillip Island this morning as a mistake by team-mate Dani Pedrosa handed Jorge Lorenzo the 2012 world championship with one round left.
The Australian dominated from start to finish as expected after being a second faster than the pack all weekend while all Lorenzo had to do was follow his home to take the title after the Repsol Honda's man team-mate crashed out at Honda corner on lap two.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow took advantage of the Spaniard's error to take his second career podium and closes the gap for fifth place on Alvaro Bautista who finished fifth behind team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
Lorenzo that got the holeshot into turn one after a lightning start, with Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa close on his tail in front of his teammate Stoner. Pedrosa was boisterous from the off and pushed past Lorenzo within a couple of turns as he tried to pull away. Local hero Stoner was soon all over Lorenzo and took him on the home straight heading into lap two.
Shortly after there was huge drama as Pedrosa pushed too hard and lost the rear of his bike, with Stoner and Lorenzo closely behind. The Spaniard was able to remount, yet had to pit with the bike too damaged, leaving Lorenzo in a strong position to take the world title. As Stoner pulled away at the front in dominant fashion, an entertaining battle for third ensued being led by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, followed by teammate Andrea Dovizioso, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.
In the meantime, Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison crashed out of the race, while NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards had to retire due to a technical issue. With 18 laps remaining Crutchlow was on a charge as he was lapping faster than Lorenzo, dropping off Dovizioso slightly, who had Bautista stuck to his rear wheel. Behind them, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi was leading a battle of the Desmosedicis ahead of Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham and Ducati’s Nicky Hayden.
With 16 laps left Bautista made his way past Dovizioso as he came under pressure from Bradl, who overtook the Italian a lap later. Bradl was a man on a mission as he then took Bautista on the home straight, with Dovizioso following suit a few corners later. Stoner was leading at the front with Lorenzo and lonely second and Crutchlow a lonely third, yet Bautista and Dovizioso were at each other's throats throughout. With eight laps to go Speed Master’s Roberto Rolfo retired with a mechanical issue.
Further afield and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró was tussling with teammate Randy de Puniet in their battle for CRT supremacy. With five laps remaining Dovizioso looked to have re-found his stride as he went past Bradl into fourth. A lap later Bautista capitalised on this and squeezed past the German for fifth. And two laps before the end the trio provided fairing-to-fairing action with Dovizioso leading into the last lap, and keeping this position until the line.
Yet ultimately it was Stoner who made it six wins in succession at the Australian track on his final bow at his home circuit, with Lorenzo clinching his second premier-class title with one round to go. Crutchlow put in a terrific ride as he stormed to his second ever GP podium, despite suffering from illness. Dovizioso was the first non-podium finisher, followed by Bautista, Bradl, Rossi, Hayden, Abraham, as well as Espargaró, who came out on top in the CRT battle with his teammate.