News 25 Jul 2011

Stoner reflects on confident victory in the United States Grand Prix

Stoner enjoyed an improved setting for race day at Laguna Seca.

Stoner enjoyed an improved setting for race day at Laguna Seca.

Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner stormed to one of the greatest wins of his career with a tactically brilliant race on a warm, sunny day in the U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today.

Stoner’s fifth MotoGP win of the season, and 28th overall, was an ominous sign for the competition. With the exception of 2009, when the race was won by Pedrosa, every winner at Laguna Seca has gone on to win the MotoGP World Championship, including Stoner in 2007.

Stoner kept alive his amazing record of a podium finish in every race he’s completed this season.

The Australian now goes into the summer break with a 20 point lead over Lorenzo, 193 to 173.

“All weekend we’ve been struggling a little so we weren’t too confident that we could run with Jorge and Dani in the race,” Stoner said. “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.”

In the race Lorenzo led from the start with Pedrosa and Stoner chasing, with Dovi just off the back in fourth.

Pedrosa and Stoner kept the Yamaha rider honest, not letting him break away for the first half. The first major change of the order came on the 18th of 32 laps when Stoner passed Pedrosa in the Corkscrew, the track’s signature corner. Then it was on to Lorenzo who was nearly a second in front.

Stoner stalked and waited, not wanting to make a rash move on the 3.610Km track that rewards momentum and punishes mistakes.

There was nothing between Lorenzo and Stoner on the 23rd lap as they crossed the line separated by only .212s.

Then came Stoner’s move, which was brilliant and unexpected. He went around Lorenzo on the outside on the gas over the turn one crested kink at about 265 Km/h on the 27th lap.

Almost immediately Stoner began to pull out a gap. When the 27th lap ended his lead was already .789s. By the second split of the 28th lap his lead was over a second and when the lap ended, with four to go, the lead was 1.544s.

The eventual margin of victory was 5.634s.