Casey Stoner takes fourth win of 2012 season at Laguna Seca
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner was back on the top step of the podium on Sunday, winning the US Grand Prix at the famous Laguna Seca circuit.
The Repsol rider got past championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who had led the race until only 11 laps remained, and held the lead until the chequered flag. Teammate Dani Pedrosa also managed to finish on the podium with a third place. This result takes the Repsol Honda Team to a total of 300 podium finishes since its inception in 1995.
Starting from the second row, Dani Pedrosa overtook his teammate off the line, but was unable to catch poleman Jorge Lorenzo into the first corner. Stoner defended an attack from Ben Spies at Turn 1, but despite this distraction managed to keep up with the two Spaniards ahead of him. Lorenzo broke free and Stoner used his superior pace to get past Pedrosa on lap three. He then pegged onto LorenzoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rear wheel in search of a move, although Pedrosa was not far behind Ã¢â‚¬â€clocking the fastest lap of the race on lap five.
The trio had an even start to the race, but Lorenzo made a push ten laps in at just the moment that Pedrosa almost crashed. The Repsol riderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s scare came when trying to reel in Stoner, accelerating excessively in a move which led to his rear tyre stepping out. After making a save, the Spaniard attempted to reach his rivals, but lost tenths with every lap that left him just too isolated.
The opposite was true for Stoner, who never let Lorenzo get more than a second away from him and began to recover ground with 14 laps to go. Two laps later, the Australian was within passing distance of his foe and made his move along the inclined, curved Ã¢â‚¬ËœstraightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in the breahtaking last sector of Laguna Seca. He kept up his pace from then on, crossing the line more than three seconds ahead of Lorenzo.
The AustralianÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fourth win of the season was a repeat of his 2011 win at Laguna Seca and reduces the gap in the overall standings. Stoner remains in third, with the gap to leader Lorenzo at 32 points. Dani Pedrosa lies in second and is 23 points off the top. MotoGP takes a brief break of 2.5 weeks after this round, with a return to action set for August 17th at Indianapolis.
Casey Stoner – 1st – 43:45.961
“It’s been a difficult weekend for us in general especially trying to make the hard tyre work. So for the race I decided to go with the soft option and be a little more careful with the tyre, keep a little more traction and not spin so much. At the beginning of the race I tried to move to the front but Dani and Jorge were riding very good lines and it was impossible to get past. I decided to slow the lap times a little and try to save the tyres until the end and then we could start to come back. I was confident for the entire race that I had enough pace for the win, we just needed to make sure the tyre 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”.
Source: Repsol Media