Lorenzo grabs the 2012 title while Stoner takes Australian GP victory

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Title fight comes to abrupt end after Pedrosa crashes out while chasing Lorenzo

The penultimate round of the MotoGP Series saw Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo earn his second MotoGP World Championship following a thrilling race with Lorenzo securing second position at the Philip Island circuit, which was good enough to give him his second title in the premier class; the first Spaniard to hold that honor. It was also a day of celebration for the Australians when their local hero sailed from the pole to the victory in what is the final MotoGP race for Casey Stoner in his homeland.

It was very important for me to win a race before the end of the season.

Casey Stoner

Both Lorenzo and Stoner were the stars in today’s race on the Phillip Island circuit but for Dani Pedrosa, it was heartbreak, after his hopes for a chance at this year’s title were dashed early in the challenge. Lorenzo had the best start on his Yamaha YZR-M1 when the lights went out but the two Repsol Honda riders were not about to let him fly off into the sunset. Pedrosa, who still had a shot at the crown, was right his fellow countryman’s tail. Following close behind was Stoner.

Pedrosa was a man on a mission in today’s race and from the start it was clear he was fully focused on trying to secure victory and keep his title hopes alive. Just at the start of the second lap Pedrosa saw an opening and took it, and his teammate followed his lead and moved into second on the front straight! On the second lap, however Pedrosa’s dream faded when he lost the rear of his Honda right in front of Lorenzo and Stoner; they both missed him but it was close. Even though the Spaniard was able to climb back on his bike, he had damaged the Honda and had to pit.

Following the early exit Lorenzo new all he had to do was ensure he finished in the points to clinch the title while Stoner was already starting to pull away from the Spanish rider. Meanwhile, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team were hoping for another strong display from Cal Crutchlow and he delivered after the English rider tried his hardest to catch up to Lorenzo in second and Crutchlow did make up some time on his rival although he wasn’t able to bridge the gap completely and finished the day with a podium third place finish.

The fight for 4th was fought out among LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl, San Carlo Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso with Bradl the one looking like he had what it needed to break away after passing his two rivals. The three riders were locked in battle for the duration of the race giving the Australian crowds a show to be remembered and at the end of the race it was Dovizioso who clinched 4th ahead of Bautista and Bradl in 6th with less than .200s separating the three!

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

There was bad luck for Paul Bird Motorsport rider James Ellison who crashed out of the race early on and there was also misfortune for NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards had to retire with what appeared to be a technical issue. Meanwhile, Ducati Racing teammates Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden had a tough race today with neither ride able to keep up with the battle for 6th ahead leaving the two riders to battle for 7th place and eventually it was Rossi who claimed the position crossing the line just ahead of Hayden.

Cardion AB Motorsport rider Karel Abraham secured 9th position with the Czech rider having quite a lonely race but behind him the battle for top CRT rider was on between Power Electronics Aspar teammates Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet who himself secured the best ever starting placement for a CRT of 9th in qualifying yesterday. De Puniet and Espargaro battled for some time on their Aprilia powered machines but in the end it was Espargaro who crossed the line in 10th with De Puniet close behind in 11th.

The battle between the CRT machines of Danilo Petrucci (Came IodaRacing), San Carlo Honda Gresini Michele Pirro and Ivan Silva on the Avintia Blusens machine saw them also coming up against Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera with the satellite Ducati rider leading the CRT machines home into 12th place finish and Petrucci, Pirro and Silva finishing in 13th, 14th and 15th respectively. Local rider Kris McLaren, who was substituting in the Avintia Blusens squad for Yonny Hernandez, couldn’t start the race after missing the 107% time limit in practice and qualifying.

The victory on home soil is Stoner's first race win since his ankle injuries that were sustained at the Indianapolis in August. Speaking after securing his fifth win of the year and sixth race win at the Philip Island circuit, Stoner said, "It was very important for me to win a race before the end of the season and I'm really happy to do it here, at home, in front of the huge crowd. My biggest worry was to be fit again and competitive for this race, but we managed it and we had something over everyone else and this was the perfect way to say goodbye here. I was pretty nervous going into the race but the conditions were fantastic for a Phillip Island race! When I knew I only had a few laps left and a big lead, I was watching the crowd and it was fantastic to see everyone cheering me on, it made me very proud to be Australian.

My biggest congratulations to Jorge, he's ridden an almost perfect season finishing 1st or 2nd when possible and I'm just disappointed not to be in the championship fight, but I made my own mistakes and this is how things go. My condolences to Dani - I saw him crash out in front of me - but he had to push today and go out and win the race to keep his championship hopes alive. It was a small mistake, easy to do in this corner and I feel very sorry for him. Thanks to everyone for coming down and showing their support!” Stoner added.

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Yamaha Motor Racing

Crutchlow was delighted with another podium finish to add to his records and was also very happy with Lorenzo and Yamaha’s success. He said, “I am really happy with this result because it is a great way to finish this period of three races in a row. After the disappointment of running out of fuel while battling for the podium on the last lap in Japan and then crashing in Sepang, I really needed a positive result here and that's what we've got. Considering how ill I've felt with the fever and bronchitis, to be back on the podium is a fantastic feeling and we definitely deserved it. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team gave me a great bike all weekend and I was very confident and calm when in front of Andrea, Bautista and Bradl.

I knew I could go faster and pull away and once I opened up a comfortable gap, I just stayed relaxed and consistent because I wasn't going to catch Jorge. Another podium is a great result and we've backed up the third in Brno. It's great too because it is my birthday tomorrow and this is a good way to kick off the celebrations. It was a big thrill to be on the podium here with Casey winning. The fans gave him a great reception and I'm glad I could be part of it. I want to say big congratulations to Yamaha and Jorge too for winning the World Championship. They have done an amazing job and they both deserve this success,” Crutchlow added.

To read what Lorenzo had to say after securing his second MotoGP title watch out for a special story to be posted soon.

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About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Race report
Tags australia, honda, lorenzo, motogp, pedrosa, phillip island, stoner, yamaha