Casey Stoner triumphed in his home MotoGP grand prix for a fourth consecutive year with an absolutely dominant performance at Phillip Island.
The Ducati rider never looked remotely threatened, charging away into a three-second lead in the first few laps, and eventually winning by 8.5 seconds.
MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) had half a chance to pass Stoner at the start, but could not make it through. After that Lorenzo was left to have a very lonely run to second place.
Entertainment was therefore provided by the battle for the final step of the podium. Fast-starting Ben Spies had clipped Lorenzo at the first corner and was passed by Nicky Hayden's Ducati and Gresini Honda's Marco Simoncelli.
Andrea Dovizioso also pounced on Spies' Tech 3 Yamaha, but would soon retire with a steering problem - ending a miserable weekend for the works Honda team and seriously damaging Dovizioso's hopes of taking third in the championship.
Having fallen from eighth to ninth at the start, Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) made rapid progress and soon joined Simoncelli, Hayden and Spies' spectacular tussle for third, a dice that saw all three in front at various stages before Rossi carved his way through to the head of the queue on lap eight.
Hayden did not let him get away, though, sticking to the Yamaha's tail and diving back past at the hairpin with two laps to go. But he could not hang on, with Rossi responding with a similar manoeuvre on the very last lap. Hayden tried his utmost to get back in front, crossing the line just 0.038s behind the Yamaha.
Spies and Simoncelli fell away slightly in fifth and sixth, with Colin Edwards seventh on the second Tech 3 Yamaha.
Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Ducati) just beat Marco Melandri (Gresini) to ninth, while LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet recovered after a trip off the road to finish 10th.
Only 15 riders took the start, Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Suzuki's Loris Capirossi having withdrawn due to pain from injuries – in Pedrosa's case the collarbone that he broke at Motegi, and groin damage for Capirossi following his qualifying crash.
Pos Rider Team Time/Gap
1. Casey Stoner Ducati 41m09.128s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha + 8.598s
3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha + 17.997s
4. Nicky Hayden Ducati + 18.035s
5. Ben Spies Tech 3 Yamaha + 22.211s
6. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda + 25.017s
7. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha + 35.168s
8. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati + 46.194s
9. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda + 46.294s
10. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda + 59.635s
11. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati + 59.664s
12. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki + 59.732s
13. Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda + 1m05.029s
14. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati + 1m05.053s
Andrea Dovizioso Honda 3 laps