US MotoGP reaction: Stoner romps to victory

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Casey Stoner extended his MotoGP world championship lead to a massive 44-points going into the summer break after a crushing victory at the American MotoGP.

The 21-year-old obliterated his rivals to claim a sixth win in 2007 by a huge winning margin of 9.865s over compatriot Chris Vermeulen.

The Australian was never troubled once he quickly disposed of Spaniard Dani Pedrosa early on the first lap. Stoner avoided a first corner collision between American duo John Hopkins and reigning world champion Nicky Hayden and from lap 11 onwards began stretching away without resistance from Vermeulen.

After 10 laps Vermeulen was still in striking distance, trailing Stoner by just 1.197s. That was the point though that Stoner began to underline the dominance he has shown all weekend after claiming pole position and setting the fastest time in all three practice sessions and this morning’s warm-up.

Stoner stretched his lead to over 10 seconds on the penultimate lap with a succession of consistent lap in the 1.22 bracket that nobody else could match in the baking hot California sunshine.

Stoner said: “I didn’t get the best start but it was good enough to be close to Dani to pass him in turn three. From there I just tried to see how fast everybody else could go behind me. I started to pull away from Dani doing high 22s and then I think Chris got past Dani and started to chase me down, so I really had to up my pace a bit. It was difficult pulling away from Chris for a little while. I really had to stay concentrated. And after I started to pull a small gap I just sort of kept my head down a little bit, made sure I reeled off a few more laps just to seal the victory. The team, tires, everything’s just been awesome this weekend.”

Stoner now holds a commanding 44-point lead over Valentino Rossi who struggled home in fourth place with grip problems from his Michelin tyres.

Stoner added: “It’s hard for me to still explain the feelings and the emotions we’ve gone through this year, and to be in the position I’m in now in my second year, I never dreamed of it. And if anybody asked what was possible at the beginning of the season, which a lot of people did, I was hoping to be inside the top five in the championship, which is looking pretty good now. I guess I have to set our goals a little bit higher.

“We’ve been slowly increasing our points in the championship since for the last seven races I think. We’ve lost some, we’ve won some, and we’ve lost some. The last couple of races have been pretty good for us. So I think we just need to stay focused and keep going the way we have been to try and secure this.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt