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Motor Racing

Motorcycling: Rossi's Italian reign ends as Stoner rules in the rain

Casey Stoner took the honours in the Italian MotoGP Grand Prix yesterday to move top of the standings and end Valentino Rossi's long reign at his home race.

The Australian Ducati rider, who started second on the grid, held his nerve on the 23 laps after riders had to switch bikes when rainy skies cleared and new tyres were needed. "It was a difficult race. I thought more than once that the chance to win had gone," Stoner said.

Previous championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who fell in practice and made a terrible start from pole position, recovered to finish second on his Yamaha and now trails Stoner by four points.

World champion Rossi, who had been bidding for an eighth straight win in Italy, came in third after changing to hard tyres with 13 laps to go rather than softs like many rivals. "I'd won seven in a row so that's OK," he said.