Jorge Lorenzo denied winning his first MotoGP world crown is a forgone conclusion after he strolled to his sixth win of the season at Laguna Seca.
Lorenzo was once again coolness personified while his rivals made crucial mistakes around him to ensure the Spaniard’s latest premier class success was relatively easy.
He was unflustered by a difficult first lap that saw him drop to fourth and he said: “The start with the clutch was not bad, but I closed the throttle too much into the first corner, so I had to take so many risks to overtake Ben (Spies).
"That put me in third and I knew I could push and follow the leaders.”
He was promoted to second place on lap six when Casey Stoner ran wide braking at turn four.
And just as he thought he might be engaged in a repeat of his Sachsenring scrap with compatriot Dani Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda lost the front of his RC212V at turn five.
The 23-year-old, who toasted his 11th MotoGP with a repeat of his astronaut celebration first trialled in Estoril last season, said: “Winning here at Laguna Seca, it's something I've always dreamed of.
"I rode so well today, right on the limit and I had to push very hard to stay in touch with Dani. He is always so strong on race day but I knew if I kept the pressure on him then there was a chance he would make a mistake and I would be able to catch him.
"I knew that Dani was pushing so hard, braking at the limit and going at 110 per cent, so I knew maybe he could crash. I was getting more confident every lap. I was getting better and he was struggling a little bit more every lap.
"So I knew it was only ten laps or 12 laps and it was a long race to the end. I was catching him and I knew for this race, for him, it was difficult to open a big gap. He was pushing at the limit in every braking and at the end he crash.
"I saw his crash, obviously, and then I keep my pace. I'm sorry he crashed but from then on it was very easy for me because I had a big gap from Casey.
"I have a big lead in the championship but there is half of the season left and it wouldn't be the first time a rider has lost the title with such a big lead, so we can't take anything for granted.”