LAGUNA SECA (California): Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo rode his Yamaha to victory on Sunday at the United States Moto Grand Prix, extending his season points lead with his ninth podium in as many season races.
Lorenzo won in 43 min 54.873secs, some 3.517 seconds ahead of runner-up Casey Stoner of Australia riding a Ducati. Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy, riding a Yamaha, was third.
Lorenzo was aided when countryman Dani Pedrosa, second in the overall points chase, crashed out on the 11th lap while leading with Lorenzo pressuring him front behind.
“It was tough,” Lorenzo said. “Dani Pedrosa did a great race. It was difficult to follow him but he made a mistake and crashed when he was on the maximum.”
Lorenzo went on to capture his sixth victory of the season, the first at the US course, and boosted his overall standings lead over Pedrosa to 72 points, 210-138, with Italian Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso third on 115.
Stoner was content with a runner-up finish.
“We are happy. We didn’t expect much more than second place,” he said.
“At the start of the race, I felt OK. But I made a mistake and ran wide, lost the front again and the last time I ran really wide which wasn’t good.
“Every time I tried to step it up I didn’t feel comfortable. I was braking later and later but was making mistakes.”
Rossi just missed the podium last week in his return after missing six weeks with a broken leg. That made his third-place effort much sweeter despite nagging pain from the injury.
“I’m very happy,” Rossi said. “I may not look happy because I have pain everywhere. This podium is like a victory on a very difficult track for us. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get back on the podium as early as this after my accident.”
Pedrosa seized the lead from pole-sitter Lorenzo at the first turn but crashed out on the fifth turn of lap 11.
Stoner chased Lorenzo, never worse than second this season, to the finish but could not catch him while Rossi passed Dovizioso for third with five laps to go to crack the podium ahead of his countryman in fourth.
Nicky Hayden of Ducati edged American Ben Spies for fifth.
It was the fifth consecutive pole start for Lorenzo.