45194 69060760 - Stoner wins Australian GP, MotoGP season title
Stoner won his 5th straight Australian Grand Prix and clinched his 2nd MotoGP series championship.

The Australian Honda rider Casey Stoner was helped in his championship cause when his nearest rival Jorge Lorenzo of Spain crashed in the warmup, losing part of the tip of his ring finger on his left hand. With Lorenzo unable to start, it meant Stoner needed only to finish better than sixth to clinch the MotoGP title he first won in 2007.

"It s not the way you want to win a championship," Stoner said of Lorenzo s morning demise. "But we had a lot of momentum going into the race. To win a fifth race here, a series title, and on my birthday, nothing gets better than today."

Gresini Honda s Marco Simoncelli finished second, ahead of Stoner s teammate Andre Dovizioso, with the two switching positions twice over the final two laps.

Stoner won his fourth straight pole at Phillip Island on Saturday and led from start to finish Sunday, holding a four-second lead for most of the second half of the race on the 4.445-kilometer (2.76-mile) Phillip Island circuit

He finished in a time of 42 minutes, 2.425 seconds, 2.2 seconds ahead of Simoncelli and 2.4 in front of Dovizioso. Dani Pedrosa of Spain was fourth on a Honda, 13 seconds behind, and American Colin Edwards fifth on a Yamaha, nearly 31 seconds behind Stoner.

Ducati s seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy crashed out on lap 13.

It was tense at the end of the race when heavy rain began falling with about three laps left. While several riders pitted to switch to bikes with a wet-weather setup, Stoner played it conservatively while at least four other drivers crashed in the wet, but even Stoner nearly crashed.