Ducati’s Casey Stoner has claimed his first win of the season, taking the checkered flag from pole position, after a first lap scrap with championship leader, Jorge Lorenzo. The Australian finished a full 5 seconds ahead of Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. The third step on the podium when to Stoner’s teammate Nicky Hayden, who had a stunning ride to claim the final step on the podium.
Stoner bolted from the line as the lights when green, but the biggest surprise was the usual quick starter Pedrosa slipping back to 5th by the first corner. After fighting through the crowd, Pedrosa was able to start closing the gap to Stoner, but ws unable to get close as the former World Champion was able to match the Spaniards speed, eventually stretching the lead to the flag.
As battles were taking place throughout the field, none were more close than the one between Hayden and Lorenzo. After swapping positions throughout the race, the Ducati pilot put in a do or die move on the final lap to claim 3rd, breaking Yamaha’s run of 47 podium finishes, leaving Lorenzo languishing in 4th, and seeing his championship lead shrink to 56 points.
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Ben Spies put in another impressive performance to claim 5th, even after being put under immense pressure from Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso, before the Italian crashed out on the final lap, leaving Valentino Rossi to claim 6th, while rookies, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli and the sole Rizla Suzuki rider Ãlvaro Bautista placing in a solid 7th and 8th place.
The top 10 was rounded out by Marco Melandri on the other San Carlo Honda Gresini machine and Pramac Racing’s Aleix EspargarÃ³. LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet escaped injury when he crashed out on lap 16.