Casey Stoner overpowered an injury-stricken Jorge Lorenzo to take victory at the United States Grand Prix after tense race-long battle. The two championship rivals ran nose-to-tail after dropping Dani Pedrosa but the Australian prevailed as Lorenzo's painful practice crash took its toll.
It certainly didn't hinder him at the start as the polesitter stormed into the lead ahead of the equally fast-starting Dani Pedrosa. Stoner held third ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli but Ben Spies made a poor getaway, allowing Valentino Rossi through into sixth.
A leading group of five quickly stretched clear of the Ducati with Spies boxed in behind the GP11.1. The American swarmed all over the back of Rossi and finally broke the shackles on lap three, but any hopes of a home podium were already slim.
His chances increased slightly when Simoncelli's crash strewn campaign continued. The San Carlo Gresini man was riding on the ragged edge in an attempt to keep the leaders in sight but the front end of the RC121V cried enough on lap seven. Sadly for British supporters, Cal Crutchlow made a similar error three laps earlier to become a visibly annoyed spectator.
The top three were inseparable despite attempts from Lorenzo to break away and Stoner was looking increasingly racy as half distance approached. On lap 18, he bullied his way through into second with a forceful move at the Corkscrew, forcing Pedrosa to give best. The move was reminiscent of Valentino Rossi's race winning move on Stoner in 2008 which angered the Australian, but this time around it would be Casey that profited.
His race winning potential was clear on the very same lap as Stoner took time out of Lorenzo despite the overtake on his teammate and within the space of three laps, was hovering all over the back of the YZR-M1.
Last time the two engaged in wheel-to-wheel combat, Stoner was left smarting by a last corner lunge from the world champion but roles were reversed this time as the current points leader lined up the Yamaha at the start of lap 27, before braving it out around the outside of turn one to snatch the lead.
With Lorenzo clearly in pain 24 hours after his heavy fall in practice, the Spaniard backed off to settle for a safe second with Pedrosa losing over nine seconds in the latter stages to finish a distant third. The battle for fourth was far from clear cut as Honda and Yamaha came into contact again.
Despite his early delay, Ben Spies was reeling in Dovizioso, taking half a second per lap out of the Italian to reduce a four second advantage to nothing. The home favourite delighted his compatriots with a brave move up the inside of the final corner of lap 30 before resisting Dovizioso's fightback to claim fourth place.
The factory Ducatis fought out a private battle over sixth, eventually falling in favour of Rossi whose GP11.1 led home Nicky Hayden's GP11 by 0.680s. The Italian squad didn't have Alvaro Bautista to worry about this time after the Suzuki slid out on lap 14, allowing Colin Edwards to come through in eighth.
Hector Barbera had led the Tech 3 Yamaha before a mistake at the Corkscrew released Edwards on lap 15. The Mapfre Aspar Ducati faded to finish over six seconds back in ninth with Hiroshi Aoyama completing the top ten.
Karel Abraham rode a trouble-free race to 11th after a weekend of crashes in Germany while Loris Capirossi and Toni Elias trailed home a lap down in 12th and 13th. Elias was the last rider home after teammate Ben Bostrom's debut outing ended after numerous trips through the gravel.
Lap Leaders (32 Laps):
Lorenzo (1-26), Stoner (27-32)