Stoner defeats Lorenzo at Laguna Seca

Autosport

Casey Stoner trimmed a little from Jorge Lorenzo's MotoGP points lead by defeating the Yamaha rider in the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

Honda pair Stoner and Dani Pedrosa and current championship leader Lorenzo were in a class of their own all race, storming away from the rest of the pack from the outset.

Stoner soon took second from Pedrosa, then piled pressure onto polesitter Lorenzo.

For a short while mid-race, Lorenzo managed to get a little breathing space, but Stoner was soon back on his tail, and with 10 laps to go the Honda swept ahead on the run towards Turn 1.

Thereafter Stoner was able to edge into a slight lead that he retained to the finish, claiming his fourth win of the year.

Pedrosa fell away a little in third, which keeps him second in the championship.

Hobbling on a heel injury after his qualifying accident, Ben Spies could not match the top three but was fending off the Tech 3 Yamahas for fourth until crashing on the way down the Corkscrew.

That elevated Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow's battle to a fight for fourth, with Dovizioso just hanging on.

Nicky Hayden beat Stefan Bradl to sixth after a long dice. Hayden's Ducati team-mate Valentino Rossi had been running a very lonely eighth until he crashed heavily - without injury - on the way over the Corkscrew crest just two laps from home.

Aleix Espargaro was top CRT finisher in ninth overall. His Aspar team-mate Randy de Puniet fought back well to recover from last to 11th after running wide in an incident with Michele Pirro and returnee Toni Elias at the first corner. Pirro fell and retired, while Elias continued only to crash out of his MotoGP comeback race on lap two.

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