Valentino Rossi fought long and hard throughout the Australian Grand Prix but despite his efforts failed to pass Casey Stoner who dominated the race.

Starting on the front row Rossi looked to be in with a good chance of winning at Phillip Island, Dani Pedrosa lead from the start as Jorge Lorenzo ran into the back of Nicky Hayden.

As Stoner passed Pedrosa, Rossi waited before pouncing a couple of corners later; from there on the positions at the front stayed the same until the rest of the race.

Rossi hassled Stoner for first place until the final lap but the Australian rider managed to hold off the challenge despite many power slides and nervous moments.

After the race the Italian revealed how much fun he had and the importance of the result. “This was one of the most fun and definitely one of the most important second places of my career! We were on the limit for the whole race and there were some amazing slides, it was 'old-style’ racing. To have a race like this in the sunshine at Phillip Island is an incredible emotion and I really enjoyed myself.”

Rossi admitted that he would of loved to have won the race but decided to play it safe for the championship.

“Of course I wanted to win but I had to use my head a bit and once I’d seen that Lorenzo was out, I knew that if I made a mistake it would be a big disaster! Anyway I tried in places but Stoner was a bit faster than me. I didn’t give up until the end but Casey really deserved this win; I want to give him my congratulations.”

With two races left this season Rossi leads the championship by 38 points and is looking to wrap it up in the penultimate race.

“We leave with twenty important points and now the championship lead is big and we can try to finish it in Malaysia, where we will have the first 'match point’.”

Team manager Davide Brivio was a happy man saying “This has been a very important day for our championship because now we’re leaving with a lead of 38 points. It is a pity that Lorenzo crashed, because who knows what kind of race this could have been with him in it as well?”

Valentino today rode with a big heart and a lot of fight, trying to win the race but also making sure he didn’t lose these twenty points. He tried hard but never went over the top. The team did a great job as well this weekend to make this possible and we have to carry this same concentration and motivation forward to Sepang next weekend, where we will be aiming for the maximum possible result.”