Casey Stoner clawed his way back into the title race at Laguna Seca by edging out championship leader Jorge Lorenze in a tense Red Bull US Grand Prix.
Lorenzo took a stunning last gasp pole on Saturday that made it 4 consecutive pole positions at Laguna
for the 2010 World champ, a remarkable achievement around the fearsome California circuit.
The conditions on race day were cool, but warmed up just before the start. This prompted Lorenzo and Pedrosa
to go with the harder rear tyre, Stoner stuck to his guns and kept the softer rear. In the rapidly warming conditions, this seemed to be a big mistake, but the Australian managed his tyres remarkably in the latter half of the race.
He shadowed Lorenzo for the whole race, the two of them gradually dropping Pedrosa over the race distance, and made his move going down the main straight a few laps from the end. He kept the lead till the end to take a well deserved win. Lorenzo commented after the race that he did all he could but there was nothing he could do to stop Stoner.
Could it all be a little too late for the Aussie? Lorenzo is an odds on favourite to be on the podium at every race, and he is capable of winning a fair few as well. Not to mention Stoner’s other problem of his teammate Pedrosa being pretty competitive at a fair few circuits too.
What of Valentino Rossi you may be asking? He capped off a thoroughly wretched weekend by crashing just before the fearsome corkscrew. The story’s doing the rounds are that Rossi has a firm offer of a factory ride next year with Yamaha, with conditions however, to replace Ben Spies who announced he is leaving Yamaha. I can’t help but feel Rossi has no choice but to leave Ducati now, he was a distant spectator of the main battles and just can’t get on top of the Ducati Desmosedici. He will announce his decision before the next GP at Indianapolis. Wherever he goes will trigger a whole raft of other riders moves as well. Should be an interesting few weeks.
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