Jorge Lorenzo secured his second MotoGP world championship with second place behind runaway winner Casey Stoner in the Australian Grand Prix.
The title battle was effectively settled on lap two, when Lorenzo's remaining championship rival Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the lead. Polesitter Stoner had fallen from first to third off the line, as Lorenzo's Yamaha burst to the front.
Determined to push for a fourth consecutive race win to try and close down Lorenzo's 23-point advantage, Pedrosa thrust his Honda into the lead at the hairpin on the opening lap. Lorenzo then lost out to Stoner's sister Honda on the pits straight.
Given that Stoner had dominated the entire weekend so far, and with Honda not expected to impose team orders, it seemed only a matter of time before Pedrosa relinquished the lead. Pushing hard to try and stay ahead, Pedrosa then lost his Honda's front end and crashed after carrying too much speed into the hairpin on the second lap. He picked his bike up and trundled disconsolately back to the pits.
There was no longer any need for Lorenzo to even try and chase Stoner, who was clearly in another league anyway. In his penultimate MotoGP start before retiring, Stoner was able to secure his sixth consecutive home victory by a comfortable margin, as Lorenzo easily took the second place he required.
Cal Crutchlow made an early break from the pack behind to secure a lonely third. His Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Andrea Dovizioso had to fight much harder for fourth, only defeating Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl after a huge race-long dice.
Valentino Rossi led the uncompetitive Ducatis home in seventh. Aleix Espargaro very narrowly beat Aspar teammate Randy de Puniet to top CRT honors in 10th place.
Results - 27 laps:
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap
1. Casey Stoner Honda 41m01.324s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha + 9.223s
3. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha + 14.570s
4. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha + 23.303s
5. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda + 23.432s
6. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda + 23.467s
7. Valentino Rossi Ducati + 37.113s
8. Nicky Hayden Ducati + 38.387s
9. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati + 52.613s
10. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia + 1m00.299s
11. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia + 1m00.342s
12. Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati + 1m21.951s
13. Danilo Petrucci Ioda Suter-BMW + 1m27.857s
14. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda + 1 lap
15. Ivan Silva Avintia BQR-Kawasaki + 1 lap
Roberto Rolfo Speed Master Aprilia 18 laps
Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW 6 laps
James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia 5 laps
Dani Pedrosa Honda 1 lap