PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA, OCT 16 –

Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner gave himself the ultimate present on his 26th birthday, the 2011 MotoGP World Championship on his home track of Phillip Island.Stoner had arrived home needing to win the race with Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo finishing fourth or worse for Stoner to win the crown. But Lorenzo crashed in morning warm-up, losing a piece of the ring finger on his left hand, and forcing him to withdraw. (Separately, teammate Ben Spies pulled out with the aftereffects of a concussion suffered in a qualifying crash.) All Stoner had to do was finish sixth or better to bookend the 800cc era with titles; he won the inaugural 800cc crown in 2007.Stoner blasted into the lead, never to be headed. He added a second a lap to his lead in the early going before slowing the pace. Then, late in the rain the threat of rain appeared. It held off for a bit, but with less than three laps to go began falling hard. Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden and Pramac Racing Ducati's Loris Capirossi pitted to switch to rain bikes, and three riders fell on the wet track, Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista, wasting his best ride of the year, and San Carlo Honda Gresini's Hiroshi Aoyama and Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow, the pair crashing together.Stoner slowed dramatically, but stayed on track and sped to victory by 2.21 secs. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) earned a career best second by passing Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso on the final lap, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) making it four Hondas in a row.

"I think the only that could happen that's better than this is having my child today," the expectant father said, "but I'll have to wait a little for that. I guess that's the next thing we're looking forward to."Not only did Stoner win his second title, earning Honda their 15th premier class championship, but Honda also won their 18th premier class Constructors Championship and 60th Constructors Championship overall. .Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards was the first non-Honda in fifth, with Pramac Racing's Randy de Puniet the first Ducati in sixth. Hayden was the last rider on the lead lap in seventh.Valentino Rossi, Hayden's teammate, didn't see the end of the race. The seven-time winner at Phillip Island crashed while trying to pass Bautista for fifth on the 14th lap.Despite getting lapped, Toni Elias finished a season best eighth on the LCR Honda. The final two of a season low ten finishers were Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing Ducati) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati).Stoner finished the day with 325 points to 260 for Lorenzo. Dovi is four points ahead of Pedrosa, 212 to 208, with Spies a distant fifth.MotoGP Results:1.Casey Stoner (Honda)

2. Marco Simoncelli (Honda)

3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)

4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)

5. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)

6. Randy de Puniet (Ducati)

7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)

8. Toni Elias (Honda)

9. Loris Capirossi (Ducati)

10. Karel Abraham (Ducati)

 

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Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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