Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner won Sunday’s 32-lap MotoGP race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in triumphant fashion over pole sitter and Yamaha racer, Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa took the final podium spot.
At the start of the race it was Lorenzo with the holeshot. The Spaniard went to work leading the field for the first two-thirds of the race. He couldn’t break away however with the Repsol Honda riders shadowing his blue bike. The lead group already started to encounter lapped CRT traffic with nine laps to go. Stoner finally pulled the trigger on Lap 21 for the lead.
‘We had a technical failure in the swingarm,” revealed Spies after the race. “I was feeling really good, I didn’t have the grip that I had in the earlier sessions with the harder tyre but in the last ten laps I was starting to pull away and I had a little left up my sleeve. We started to stretch out a lead over Dovi then all of a sudden at the bottom of the corkscrew the bike went out from underneath me. I had no control, it didn’t slide or anything just completely went. At first I thought I’d hit a bump but there isn’t one there. It’s nobody’s fault but it’s more bad luck.”
With a clear racetrack in front of him Stoner pounded out laps with the precision of a surgeon eventually opening up a two-plus second gap over Lorenzo. Although two seconds doesn’t sound like a lot on track it was obvious that no one else could match his pace.
“I was confident for the entire race that I had enough pace for the win,” said Stoner. “We just needed to make sure the tire would last until the end. When we got to the front we put in some good laps and pulled some small advantage and just continued from there. I’m very, very happy and a big thanks to all the team”.
With only a few laps to go in the race, Rossi crashed as he braked immediately before The Corkscrew. He appeared uninjured but was visibly disappointed.
“I wasn’t fighting for the podium, but a crash like that at the end of the race is still disappointing,” shared Rossi. “I had done the whole race like the first lap and my rhythm wasn’t fast at that moment. Still, I lost the front when I was approaching the Corkscrew, when the bike was vertical, right when I touched the brake, a bit like happened at Silverstone. We have a real problem: again today, we had a hard time getting the front tire to work, and it was like new after thirty laps. Fortunately I’m fine, although it was a pretty hard crash.”
Meanwhile the Monster Tech 3 riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Cruthlow were waging their own battle with both riders locked together. Dovizioso ended up staying in front of Crutchlow for fourth-place by less than two-tenths a second. Nicky Hayden slotted in sixth one position in front of series rookie Stefan Bradl. Aleix Espargaro was the top-finishing CRT machine though he was one lap down on the race winner.
MotoGP Laguna Seca Race Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
6. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia-ART)
10. Karel Abraham (Ducati)
11. Randy de Puniet (Aprilia-ART)
12. Yonny Henandez (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR)
13. Colin Edwards(BMW-Suter)
MotoGP Championship Points:
1. Jorge Lorenzo, 205
2. Dani Pedrosa, 182
3. Casey Stoner, 173
4. Andrea Dovizioso, 121
5. Cal Crutchlow, 106
6. Stefan Bradl, 84
7. Nicky Hayden, 84
8. Valentino Rossi, 82
9. Alvaro Bautista, 81
10. Ben Spies, 66