Casey Stoner gave his championship chances a much-needed boost with victory in the United States Grand Prix, beating Jorge Lorenzo in a straight fight. Stoner's choice to race on the softer rear tyre proved inspired as he proved too strong for the Yamaha on the harder compound.
The top three got away evenly from the front row of the grid with Lorenzo maintaining the lead but Stoner was beaten on the brakes for turn two by Dani Pedrosa while Ben Spies also had a look at the back of the Honda. The American, riding with an injured heel after yesterday's crash, had to give best though and became an increasingly distant fourth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow on the Tech 3 Yamahas.
Pedrosa didn't stay ahead of his teammate for long as Stoner scythed past into turn three on the third lap and the Australian latched straight onto the back of Lorenzo. Dani was unable to do likewise on the second Repsol Honda though. Like Lorenzo, he had chosen the harder rear Bridgestone and simply didn't have the pace to stay in touch, falling nearly two seconds back by half distance.
Lorenzo would've been hoping that his tyre choice would pay him back but it proved to be the opposite as Stoner motored past him with eleven laps to go. The Honda RC213V showed tremendous acceleration exiting the final corner to draw alongside as the leaders crossed the finish line. Stoner had the inside line into turn one and eased his way through, taking the lead at the exact same place he passed Lorenzo last year. The championship leader had nothing by way of response and safely banked the twenty points for second, safe in the knowledge that his nearest rival Dani Pedrosa was four seconds behind him.
Ben Spies seemed to have a strong grip on fourth but his miserable home weekend came to a disastrous end at the Corkscrew. The rear end of the Yamaha gave up on him on the way down from the Corkscrew with the sparks indicating a failure of some sort. With him out of the equation, fourth place was up for grabs between the Tech 3 teammates. As on so many occasions this year, the two finished nose-to-tail with Andrea Dovizioso beating Cal Crutchlow in the end by 0.177s.
Stefan Bradl ran seventh for much of the race, becoming sixth when Spies retired, and kept in touch with the Yamahas for a large spell. The German couldn't maintain that pace though and succumbed to Nicky Hayden five laps from home, falling back to seventh.
The race was a nightmare for Valentino Rossi on the second factory Ducati as he struggled to keep his teammate in view. Rossi dropped a full ten seconds to Hayden and was running a lonely eighth before losing the front end of the GP12 at the top of the Corkscrew, destroying the motorcycle against the air fence and ending his 100% finishing record in 2012.
Rossi's crash promoted Alvaro Bautista to eighth on the sole remaining Gresini entry. Teammate Michele Pirro's race only lasted one corner after a collision with Randy de Puniet at turn one with the incident also collecting Toni Elias. The stand-in rider at Pramac Ducati stayed upright but dropped it a lap later, completing an unimpressive return to MotoGP.
The CRT battle was won by Aleix Espargaro who was the only man in that particular class to finish on the lead lap. The Spaniard was ninth ahead of Karel Abraham while de Puniet recovered to eleventh, beating Yonny Hernandez, Colin Edwards and Ivan Silva who closed out the final result.
James Ellison couldn't continue his point-scoring run after joining the long list of riders to crash at turn three this weekend, tumbling out on lap twenty.