Australian rider Casey Stoner (photo) won Sunday's MotoGP Grand Prix in Mugello, Italy, his second victory of the season. He thereby brought an end to Valentino Rossi's seven-year reign on the Mugello circuit and took the championship lead.
AFP - Casey Stoner held off the fast-finishing Jorge Lorenzo to win the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday and bring to an end Valentino Rossi's seven-year reign here.
The Australian also took over the lead in the world championship standings with his second win of the season having also triumphed in Qatar in the opening race of the season.
He now leads Lorenzo, who started on pole here, by four points in the championship standings with Rossi third, a further five points back.
In a dramatic race that began in wet conditions, Stoner seized the advantage when switching bikes after 10 laps for a change of tyres.
He was the fastest man on the track by some margin in those first few laps after the switch and although Yamaha pair Lorenzo and Rossi were quickest at the end, they had both lost too much time and too many places to hit back.
Stoner completed the 23 laps in 45min 41.894sec to win by just over a second to Spaniard Lorenzo.
In an exciting race the pole-sitter got off to a terrible start in the wet and immediately dropped to eighth.
Quickest off the mark were Australian Chris Vermeulen, who started 11th, and Andrea Dovizioso, who began seventh but Stoner passed them both on the long straight at the beginning of the second lap.
Vermeulen quickly started heading backwards, eventually finishing 10th, as Rossi started to move up from fifth.
However Italian Marco Melandri on a Kawasaki, who started 15th on the grid, was clearly fastest in the wet.
Rossi took the lead from Dovizioso, who had got back past Stoner, on the seventh lap and two laps later he lost that to Melandri.
However, on the 10th lap all the front runners came into the pits for a change of bikes and when they came out, Stoner was quickest to find his pace.
Melandri immediately started heading backwards, eventually finishing 11th and 35sec back, while Loris Capirossi propelled himself into race contention with Stoner and Dovizioso.
Lorenzo and Rossi initially struggled with their bikes down in fifth and sixth and the time they lost over those first three laps coming out of the pits, essentially cost either of them a chance of victory.
While Stoner had soon taken the race lead, both Yamaha riders had to then pass Melandri, Capirossi and Dovizioso and by the time they had done so, Stoner was over a second ahead and with only a couple of laps remaining.
Meanwhile former Superbikes champion James Toseland of Britain got his best finish of the season in seventh, benefitting from being the first man into the pits to change his bike.
It meant that his tyres were warm and he was flying as the fastest man on track for a few laps when everyone else was simply trying to get temperature into their new tyres.
Date created : 2009-05-31