Motegi MotoGP: Stoner wins the world title for Ducati
Casey Stoner has taken the first MotoGP world championship for Ducati after finishing 7 places ahead of Valentino Rossi while the second Ducati of Loris Capirossi took the race win.
After an incredible race that started wet and finished dry Stoner eventually finished in sixth leaving Valentino Rossi to languish in 13th with brake problems on his dry setup bike.
Nearly all of the riders started the race on wet tyres but the track quickly dried forcing the entire field to have to pit and change to a bike with either dry or intermediate tyres.
Before the change it looked like it was going to be a very close race with Marco Melandri in the lead followed by Rossi and Stoner, but the lead riders were the last to change bikes and just as Rossi passed Melandri for the lead, the Honda rider pulled in to the pits leaving Rossi to come in a lap later at the end of lap 14. Dani Pedrosa, who was on a charge to the front, pushed his tyres too far and highsided out of his brief lead moments later.
Stoner pitted at the same time as Melandri and rejoined the race in eighth place.
The late pit left the way clear for the early changers to take control of the front and Loris Capirossi romped away with the lead to take his third Motegi win in a row while an impressive showing from Randy dePuniet saw him take second place and Toni Elias in third.
Rossi, who had to finish in front of Stoner to prevent him from walking away with the title early, came back out on to track after the change to discover he had problems with his brakes on the new bike. After only two laps he was back in to the pits. Nothing was obviously wrong so he went back out and we saw him run off the track several times as he failed to stop his Yamaha.
Rossi eventually faught to finish in 13th place, handing the title to Stoner who is now the second youngest rider to ever win the title behind Freddie Spencer.
Ride of the race has got to go to Dunlop Yamaha man Sylvan Guintoli who pushed his machine to an incrdible best result of fourth place, just missing out on third to Tony Elias. Guintoli methodically worked his way through the field setting the fastest lap, time and time again in this his rookie season in MotoGP.
Kawasaki man Anthony West looked set to put in a storming ride, pushing his way to the front before being called in from the lead for a jump-start ride-through penalty. He came out of the pits in 14th but managed to pull back to an impressive seventh place by the end of the race.
Randy DE PUNIET 10.853
Toni ELIAS 11.526
Sylvain GUINTOLI 12.192
Marco MELANDRI 28.569
Casey STONER 31.179
Anthony WEST 50.001
Alex BARROS 52.343
Nicky HAYDEN 53.629
John HOPKINS 59.715
Chris VERMEULEN 1'02.804
Makoto TAMADA 1'09.313
Valentino ROSSI 1'09.699
Colin EDWARDS 1'11.735
Shinichi ITO 1'12.290
Shinya NAKANO 1'32.979
Akira YANAGAWA 1 lap
Carlos CHECA 1 lap
Click here for the full championship positions