Stoner makes it look easy at Laguna Seca
Ducati’s Casey Stoner dominated the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix race at Laguna Seca from start to finish on Sunday to take his sixth win of the year - and extend his World Championship lead to 44 points ahead of the summer break.
In the Californian sunshine the Australian produced the goods yet again, eventually crossing the line just under ten seconds ahead of his compatriot Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) to break the MotoGP pole jinx. Meanwhile the brave Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) rode brilliantly from tenth on the grid to take third despite his injuries sustained in qualifying.
A dramatic incident on the first corner ruined the day for American pair John Hopkins (Rizla Suzuki) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) when they collided and were immediately taken out of contention. World Champion Hayden’s dreams of completing a hat-trick of home wins were dashed as he continued at the back of the pack before retiring with ten laps to go, while Hopkins eventually crossed the line 15th.
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi finished fourth, five seconds behind Melandri and a significant 30 seconds behind race winner Stoner - who appears to be running away with the title, just as he ran away from his rivals to take victory here. A further five seconds off Rossi was fifth placed Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), while Kawasaki pair Randy de Puniet and Anthony West were sixth and seventh.
Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3’s Makoto Tamada took his best result of the season in eighth place, Pramac d’Antin’s Alex Barros was ninth and Kawasaki wildcard Roger Lee Hayden was remarkably the highest placed American as he completed the top ten.
Finishing 11th was Colin Edwards (Fiat Yamaha) who appeared to fade in the second half of the race, whilst Kurtis Roberts’ (Team Roberts) retirement after just five laps meant the American fans did not have much to cheer if they were Supporting the home riders only.
Pos Rider Bike Time/Behind
1. Casey Stoner Ducati 44:20.325
2. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki + 9.865
3. Marco Melandri Honda + 25.641
4. Valentino Rossi Yamaha + 30.664
5. Dani Pedrosa Honda + 35.622
6. Randy de Puniet Kawasaki + 38.306
7. Anthony West Kawasaki + 41.422
8. Makoto Tamada Yamaha + 42.355
9. Alex Barros Ducati + 43.520
10. Roger Lee Hayden Kawasaki + 43.720
11. Colin Edwards Yamaha + 47.376
12. Shinya Nakano Honda + 52.848
13. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha + 58.410
14. Carlos Checa Honda +1:15.366
15. John Hopkins Suzuki + 2 laps
16. Chaz Davies Ducati + 3 laps
Rider Bike Laps
Nicky Hayden Honda 22
Miguel Duhamel Honda 10
Kurtis Roberts KR212V 5
Loris Capirossi Ducati 3
Fastest Race Lap: Casey Stoner 1m 22.542s