As expected, Casey Stoner dominated the Australian Grand Prix, leading every single moment but it was an incident four hours before the race which helped the Australian clinch his second world championship in front of his home crowd.
At the end of morning warm-up, Jorge Lorenzo, the only man with a mathematical chance of stopping Stoner, crashed his Yamaha with the bike landing on top of his left hand, causing damage to the fourth finger. The Spaniard required surgery to treat the injury which forced him to miss the race, meaning Stoner only needed a top six finish to be crowned champion.
That requirement never looked in any doubt as he disappeared into the distance once he'd aced the start. Stoner's getaway wasn't half as good as Nicky Hayden's though as the Ducati scythed through into second ahead of Marco Simoncelli, Andrea Dovizioso and Alvaro Bautista.
With no challenge from the factory Yamaha team, Honda always looked like they would have the race to themselves and Simoncelli moved into second at the expense of Hayden on lap two. The Ducati was clearly lacking top end speed as Dovizioso breezed past into third on the start/finish straight on lap four while Dani Pedrosa pulled off a carbon copy on the next lap to take fourth.
The Melbourne weather had been typically unpredictable all day, causing mayhem in the 125cc race, and spots of rain began to fall shortly before half distance. Valentino Rossi looked to capitalise on the slippery track by passing Bautista for sixth but instead he came unstuck, sliding off the track at the MG hairpin into retirement.
Dani Pedrosa also made the most of the reduced grip to snatch third from Dovizioso but the Italian fought back on lap 21 before dropping his teammate to secure the final place on the podium.
The rain returned with four laps to go but this time it fell much heavier bringing the flag-to-flag rules into play. Nicky Hayden sacrificed fifth place by coming in to change bikes while Bautista may have wished he'd done the same as he crashed out on his dry tyres.
The damp circuit also caught out Hiroshi Aoyama and Cal Crutchlow but Casey Stoner didn't put a wheel wrong, cruising home to a triumphant victory. Dovizioso made a late bid to snatch second but came up short with Simoncelli holding on by a quarter of a second.
Pedrosa came home a distant fourth while Colin Edwards inherited fifth after Hayden's late stop. Randy de Puniet took a season's best sixth ahead of Hayden while Toni Elias and Loris Capirossi were lapped in eighth and ninth. Karel Abraham was a further lap adrift in tenth after crashing too in the latter stages.
Ben Spies and Damian Cudlin were two other riders who didn't complete the distance with both men missing the race altogether after accidents earlier in the weekend.