Casey Stoner seals brilliant win at Laguna Seca

By Tom RostanceBBC Sport

Casey Stoner increased his lead at the top of the MotoGP standings with a brilliant win at Laguna Seca.

The 25-year-old produced memorable moves to pass first Dani Pedrosa and then second-placed Jorge Lorenzo to win in California.

The Australian now leads the championship by 20 points from Lorenzo with eight races left.

American Ben Spies was fourth at his home circuit while British rider Cal Crutchlow crashed out early on.

Stoner told BBC Sport: "We found some pace in the warm-up this morning and I went into the race confident.

"I was making time up on the brakes but slowly the bike got better and better and when everyone was struggling with grip I made a move.

"With a few laps to go I put the hammer down and it is a great weekend to come through and win."

Lorenzo - badly bruised after a huge crash in qualifying on Saturday - got a flying start from pole position to open up a commanding lead by the end of lap one ahead of the three Repsol Hondas.

Valentino Rossi had his bike sideways out of the last corner of the second lap but held on before Crutchlow crashed out on lap four.

Crutchlow was unhurt while at the front Lorenzo continued to lead from Pedrosa and Stoner as the front three settled for a repeat of their duel at the Sachsenring last time out.

Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli then continued his season of crashes by sliding off his bike - his fourth retirement from the 10 races so far.

Alvaro Bautista also crashed out before half way as Stoner moved into second place on lap 17 with a bold move inside Pedrosa down the famous Corkscrew turn.

Stoner moved right on to the back tyre of Lorenzo as the riders entered the final 10 laps and made another superb overtake to pass Lorenzo around the outside of turn one and take the lead on lap 26.

The 2007 world champion held on to pick up his fifth win of the season with Lorenzo and Pedrosa joining him on the podium.

Lorenzo was unable to live with the pace in the closing stages and admitted he was feeling the pain from his crash.

He told BBC Sport: "I am disappointed because I wanted to fight to the end with Casey. But at the end he was fresh and he deserved the victory.

"The pain in my back and my arms was not good at the end of the race and when he went past me I threw in the towel and settled for second place."

United States MotoGP results:

1) Casey Stoner (Aus) Repsol Honda 43'52.145

2) Jorge Lorenzo (Spn) Yamaha 43'57.779

3) Dani Pedrosa (Spn) Repsol Honda 44'01.612

4) Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 44'12.707

5) Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Repsol Honda 44'13.030

6) Valentino Rossi (Ita) Ducati 44'22.496

7) Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 44'23.176

8) Colin Edwards (USA) Tech 3 Yamaha 44'37.647

9) Hector Barbera (Spn) Aspar Ducati 44'43.694

10) Hiroshi Aoyama (Jpn) Gresini Honda 45'00.995

MotoGP standings:

1) Casey Stoner (Aus) Repsol Honda 193 points

2) Jorge Lorenzo (Spn) Yamaha 173

3) Andrea Dovizioso (It) Repsol Honda 143

4) Dani Pedrosa (Spn) Repsol Honda 110

5) Valentino Rossi (Ita) Ducati 108