US MotoGP reaction: Chris Vermeulen second behind rampant Casey Stoner

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Chris Vermeulen claimed his third podium of 2007 with second place in the Laguna Seca MotoGP clash, but was powerless to seriously trouble a dominant Casey Stoner.

The closest Vermeulen got to his runaway fellow Aussie came on lap nine when he closed the gap to just 1.016s having seized second place from Dani Pedrosa at the last corner on lap four.

After lap nine though Stoner produced a masterclass of riding and Vermeulen eventually settled for a comfortable second place to complete a brilliant day.
He’d signed a new Suzuki contract after the morning warm-up session and Vermeulen said: “It was great. We’ve been quick here most of the weekend, not quite as quick as Casey and that showed today. But to me it was comfortable to ride and I’m very happy to be on the podium.”

Vermeulen said his plan was to try and run down Stoner and fight for his second win of the season, but it became apparent quickly that he didn’t have the pace to live with the world championship leader, who cleared off to take his sixth win of ’07.
“I had a plan, but it didn’t quite turn out. Casey was too quick. I had my head down and I was trying 100 per cent for a few laps. And at one point I actually thought I was catching him, but I must have been kidding myself. I was trying my hardest to hang on and I didn’t even look at my pit board.

"And it was probably five or six laps after I got past Dani and Casey started to go a little bit. I looked at the board, how many laps there was to go, and my gap was already seven or eight seconds to the guy behind me and I thought, Jesus, we’ve pulled away. I got my head down in case Casey made a mistake but he had too much speed for us today."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt