Casey Stoner’s dominance of his home circuit continued on Sunday as the Australian won at Phillip Island for the third year in a row, leading Valentino Rossi over the finish line by a margin of 1.935s.
In his second Grand Prix back after a three-race absence, the 24 year-old celebrated his birthday weekend with an impressive win from pole position, his third race victory of the season, which took him to third in the championship standings.
A frustrating weekend for Jorge Lorenzo was compounded when the Spaniard crashed out at turn one of the first lap after touching bikes with Stoner’s Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden. Having struggled through the practice sessions and qualifying with both rear-grip issues and illness, Lorenzo was unable to continue after sliding off, although Hayden climbed back aboard his Desmosedici GP9 to finish 15th.
Rossi’s second place opened his lead at the top of the championship to 38 points over Fiat Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo with two races remaining, after it had been cut down to 18 following the latter’s win last time out at Estoril.
Dani Pedrosa secured his first podium at the circuit in the MotoGP class but came in 22.618s adrift of Rossi, while Alex de Angelis’ fine weekend was completed with a fourth-placed classification.
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took fifth spot from fifth on the grid, and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) overcame his worst qualifying position since Germany – tenth – to take sixth place.
Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing), Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda), Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) and Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini) all also finished inside the top ten.
Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) came in twelfth after being demoted to the back of the grid after his team was penalised for using an extra engine outside its allocation.
Marco Simoncelli narrowed the gap on Hiroshi Aoyama in the 250cc FIM World Championship to 12 points with victory, as the Japanese rider was classified in seventh position when the race was red flagged.
Roberto Locatelli’s high-side crash which resulted in him lying stricken on the track brought the action to a premature end, with Simoncelli leading, Álvaro Bautista having already crashed when in second place earlier in the race, and Aoyama having risen to fourth from seventh on the last completed lap.
Simoncelli assumed the lead early on and maintained it for the remainder of the race until the red flag on the 18th lap, with Héctor Barberá in second and Raffaele de Rosa in third.
Mattia Pasini crashed out with 17 laps remaining to bring to an end a difficult weekend which saw him suffer a similar fate in qualifying, and a crash for Bautista took him out of the picture. On the next lap Jules Cluzel’s spill saw Aoyama climb to fourth, and the drama intensified with Locatelli’s spill at MG Corner which left the rider with a bruised lower back.
That handed Simoncelli the race victory – the 200th for an Italian rider in the 250cc class – with Cluzel taking fourth despite his crash. Mike di Meglio finished fifth, and Karel Abraham’s sixth spot was the Czech’s best-ever race result.
Julián Simón was crowned the 2009 World Champion as the Spaniard clinched victory on the final lap of the 125cc race, vindicating his decision to take the step down from 250cc for this season.
An excitingly tight early race ensued as a group of seven riders which included Simón, his Bancaja Aspar team-mate Bradley Smith, Nico Terol, Pol Espargaró and Simone Corsi – starting on the front row for the first time in 2009 – all jostled closely for position.
With four laps remaining there was just under a full second between Simón – at this point in second position – and Corsi in third, with the Spaniard seemingly happy to wait until the final lap to launch his bid for the victory which would deliver the title.
He did so, and with Smith forced wide in a turn Simón attacked on the inside to stream through and take victory, while the Brit secured his fourth successive podium finish.
Sandro Cortese (Ajo Interwetten) completed the podium, whilst Espargaró finished fourth from pole position. Corsi ended the race in fifth spot with Nico Terol (Jack & Jones) taking sixth.
The FIM MotoGP World Championship now immediately heads to South East Asia for the Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend (23rd-25th October 2009).