Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca:
Casey Stoner has taken a convincing victory at Laguna Seca, holding back through the first part of the race before making a charge to pass teammate Dani Pedrosa and early leader Jorge Lorenzo and going on to take the win. The win sees Stoner extend his championship lead to 20 points again going into the summer break.
Stoner's chances did not look particularly good off the line. Polesitter Jorge Lorenzo - walking very stiffly indeed after his monster highside during qualifying yesterday - got off the line superbly and won the drag through Turn 1 and into the Andretti Hairpin. Dani Pedrosa couldn't quite get his usual rocket start, but still managed to sneak ahead of Casey Stoner to hit the hairpin in 2nd, while a mistake with the electronics setup saw Ben Spies get swamped as the bikes headed into the hairpin, dropping from 4th down to 7th behind Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi.
Lorenzo took off from the start, but Pedrosa followed in hot pursuit. Stoner looked at first like his mediocre form from practice was continuing, for though he posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 3, he could only just keep the two Spaniards within reach. Pedrosa hung on Lorenzo's tail for the first half of the race, looking for a way past but never finding one. At the halfway mark, Pedrosa's strength started to wane, his fitness fading just as Stoner's bike started to come good. The Australian and his crew had found something in the morning warmup which worked as the fuel load started to come down, so Stoner's struggles to get the bike turned in the early laps disappeared as the race went on.
With the fuel load lightening and the bike coming better and better, Stoner closed the gap to Pedrosa and on lap 18, sliced inside him at the top of the Corkscrew to take 2nd. Not satisfied with cutting his potential points loss to Lorenzo from 9 back to 5, Stoner then set about chasing down his only serious rival for the title. Within 4 laps, Stoner was with Lorenzo, and harrying the Spaniard wherever he could. Lorenzo defended as best he could, pushing hard to avoid giving Stoner a chance. But as the pair entered the final corner on lap 26, Stoner was finally in position to get the drive onto the straight that would give him the chance to pass the Yamaha. Stoner fired out of Turn 11, passing Lorenzo around the outside of Turn 1, the fastest and scariest part of the track. Turning into the Andretti Hairpin, Stoner closed the door, leaving Lorenzo with no option but to concede defeat.
Holding Stoner off had taken its toll of Lorenzo's battered body. Once he saw Stoner come past, Lorenzo focused on coming home in one piece and limiting the damage to his championship. Stoner went on to pull a huge gap, maintaining his punishing pace until the gap had grown to over 3 seconds, then backing off slightly to secure a comfortable win. His victory over Lorenzo means he extends his championship lead out to 20 points again, but the recent resurgence of Lorenzo means the title is likely to go down to the wire.
Dani Pedrosa came home a distant 3rd behind Lorenzo, while Ben Spies worked his way through traffic - helped by yet another race crash by Marco Simoncelli - to make it up into 4th, just ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, who looked to have that position in the bag until he faded late in the race. Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden fought a tense, race-long battle, with Hayden looking for a way past his teammate but never able to find one. A disappointed Hayden was forced to settle for 7th behind Rossi, joking afterwards that he would make sure to ask Rossi to let him by at Indianapolis in late August.
Colin Edwards was the first satellite bike home, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider finishing 8th at his home Grand Prix, while Hector Barbera faded after a strong start to end the race in 9th. Hiroshi Aoyama rounded out the top 10, just nipping ahead of Karel Abraham in the final corner, demoting the Cardion AB rider to 11th. Loris Capirossi and Toni Elias were both lapped by the front runners, while Alvaro Bautista, Cal Crutchlow and Simoncelli all crashed out during the race. US wildcard Ben Bostrom pulled into the pits with a technical problem after running off the track.
The riders now have a couple of weekends off before heading to Brno, in the Czech Republic.
|12||65||Loris CAPIROSSI||DUCATI||44'05.129||1 lap|
|13||24||Toni ELIAS||HONDA||44'29.962||1 lap|
|19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SUZUKI||18'06.782||19 laps|
|23||Ben BOSTROM||HONDA||12'09.042||24 laps|
|58||Marco SIMONCELLI||HONDA||8'21.101||26 laps|
|35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||YAMAHA||4'18.554||29 laps|