Casey Conquers Laguna Seca
Laguna Seca does not usually disappoint the thousandths of fans that year after year go to the hills of the outskirts of Monterey to enjoy the purest MotoGP essence. And, once again, the American round did not fail and the race saw another duel between the three riders in the best form of the premiere category, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
There was only one change in the lead of the round in Laguna Seca, but it was the change that finally decided the name of the winner of the United States Grand Prix. The Australian of the Repsol Honda Team, Casey Stoner, had a pending revenge since 2008 with Laguna Seca and he settled his account with the short Ã¢â‚¬â€the shortestÃ¢â‚¬â€ of the tracks in the Motorcycling World Championship calendar.
Lorenzo had a very fast start when the lights went out and rode constantly at 1 minute and 21 seconds, a very quick pace. Only Pedrosa seemed to be able to follow his countryman’s pace, with Stoner in third and Dovizioso fourth at the beginning of the race. Stoner rode a bit far from the two Spaniards, but he did not give in and, although he could not catch the duo, he did not lose terrain.
After the first half of the race, Lorenzo and Pedrosa kept the lead less than one second ahead of Stoner, and Dovizioso was fourth and rode alone. Stoner then started to reduce differences and caught up with Lorenzo and Pedrosa 17 laps before the end of the race, that had 32 laps. The Australian did not want wait to try and overtake Pedrosa, and he did so two laps later in an impressive manoeuvre entering the mythical corkscrew. Lorenzo, who had some tenths over Pedrosa, was within his reach.
Stoner caught up with Lorenzo four laps later, when there were 11 laps left before the end, while Pedrosa, still with some physical problems after his injuries, suffered more the fatige in the demanding American track than last week in Germany and he had already lost one second and a half. Dani secured his third position and was satisfied in the end to get a new podium in a circuit where last year he was not able to finish due to a crash.
While Dovizioso kept the fourth position but he kept losing terrain to the local rider Spies, who would eventually send him to the final fifth position, in the first position the duel was ready. Lorenzo was still on the lead but Stoner was closing the gap with each lap, until finally catching up with the Spaniard, who had physical problems due to his crash yesterday, seven laps before the end. And Stoner finally overtook Lorenzo by the outside in the mid straight, mid bend where the finish line is. Just on the limit of the asphalt, but cleanly, Stoner took the lead and did not lose it until reaching the finish line. His searing pace allowed him to cross the line with nearly six seconds over Lorenzo.
After this result, Stoner reinforces his position in front of the overall standings with an advantage of 20 points over Lorenzo. Dovizioso keeps his third place, but now 50 points behind his team mate, and Pedrosa goes up to the fourth position, 83 behind Stoner. After the race, the World Championship takes a 2-week break and will resume the action next August 14 in Brno, Czech Republic.
“All weekend we’ve been struggling a little so we weren’t too confident that we could run with Jorge and Dani [Pedrosa] in the race. However, this morning in warm up we found something I was a little happier with. Before the race I felt relaxed, confident and generally calm, we started a little slower to get the tyres warm gently but also with a full tank of fuel, the bike didn’t feel that great.
So I was patient and took my time, staying with Jorge and Dani to control the gap and make sure they didn’t get too far away. I felt I had more speed but decided to wait and watch. I saw Dani struggling a bit and he started to drop back from Jorge so I had to attack at this point.
Once I caught up to Jorge, I watched to see if he made a mistake and kept the pressure on him, then chose my moment to make the move and was able to slowly open up a gap and bring the race home. It’s really fantastic to come from such a difficult weekend and get a great win and I’m very thankful to all my team”.