Stoner triumphs at Laguna Seca
Initially following the lead battle between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, as their pace faded Stoner’s consistency meant he took the lead by lap 27 of 32 and never looked back.
Lorenzo took the early lead from pole position and Pedrosa put him under great pressure until the mid-way point of the race at which point Stoner started his charge to the front, passing his teammate and taking the Honda fight to the Yamaha of the 2010 World Champion. Lorenzo finished second whilst Pedrosa took the final step of the podium.
The top three riders all used the harder option front and rear slicks today, as did Andrea Dovizioso who finished fifth and Marco Simoncelli who crashed out when running in fifth. Despite the high track temperature that reached 46 degrees, three riders used the softer front tyres and 12 of the 17 starters opted for the softer rear. Consistency even of the softer spec rear was reasonable and Ben Spies used it to good effect to hunt down Dovizioso and snatch fourth position from him in the closing laps.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Casey delivered an impressive performance today to fight back to his first victory at Laguna Seca since his title-winning year of 2007, and I am pleased to see the popularity of MotoGP growing in the USA with a record crowd this weekend. Laguna Seca is the only race on the calendar at which Bridgestone-shod riders have taken all three steps of the podium every year since 2007, that season and 2008 still being a situation of tyre competition, so it has always been a good place for us and this year’s no different. I am happy with the feedback from our softer rear tyre selection which we will continue to implement for five of the remaining eight races this season.”
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“The harder option front and rear slicks were clearly the faster options today and, especially in the case of Casey, consistency was impressive. Whilst his fastest lap was a few tenths off the lap record, the total race time was 2.7seconds faster than the previous record which is a very good indication of consistency and durability. On lap three Casey set the fastest lap of 1m 21.673s and on lap 29 his pace was still 1m 21.865s which is a further demonstration of tyre durability. I am pleased too with the performance of our softer slicks this weekend. We brought them to improve warm-up performance in the cooler morning sessions, but actually 12 riders chose to use them for the race and Ben finished fourth using a softer rear so I am satisfied with their race-distance performance as well as our decision to revise rear tyre options here.”
Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner
“All weekend we didn’t really have the pace of Dani and Jorge and weren’t comfortable running that pace, but we made some changes overnight and were a little more confident going into the race. The bike didn’t feel great with a full tank of fuel so we had to wait and be patient, but as Dani and Jorge started to struggle with rear grip our bike got better and better each lap. It’s definitely one of my best races and one to enjoy.”
Top ten classification (Sunday 14:00 GMT-7)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 20-21°C; Track 46°C (Bridgestone measurement)