Casey Stoner has finished second as Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo extended his Moto GP championship lead with victory in Sunday’s US grand prix at Laguna Seca.
The runners-up spot is the Australian’s best finish in 2010 although Stoner rarely challenged Lorenzo who ended up over 3.5 seconds in front for his sixth win of the year.
But the Ducati rider was content with the result.
“We are happy. We didn’t expect much more than second place,” he said.
“At the start of the race, I felt OK. But I made a mistake and ran wide, lost the front again and the last time I ran really wide which wasn’t good.
“Every time I tried to step it up I didn’t feel comfortable. I was braking later and later but was making mistakes.”
Lorenzo’s main championship rival, countryman Dani Pedrosa, crashed out on the 11th lap while leading the race and the red-hot Yamaha rider took full advantage.
“It was tough,” Lorenzo said. “Dani Pedrosa did a great race. It was difficult to follow him but he made a mistake and crashed when he was on the maximum.”
Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy, also riding a Yamaha, finished third just seven weeks after breaking his leg.
Lorenzo’s win was his first at the iconic Californian circuit and boosts his overall championship lead over Pedrosa to 72 points with Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso sitting third.
Rossi just missed the podium last week in his return from the broken leg and he was delighted with the result despite still feeling pain from the injury.
“I’m very happy,” Rossi said.
“I may not look happy because I have pain everywhere. This podium is like a victory on a very difficult track for us. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get back on the podium as early as this after my accident.”
Pedrosa seized the lead from pole-sitter Lorenzo at the first turn but crashed out on the fifth turn of lap 11.
Stoner chased Lorenzo, never worse than second this season, to the finish but could not catch him while Rossi passed Dovizioso for third with five laps to go to crack the podium ahead of his countryman in fourth.
Nicky Hayden of Ducati edged American Ben Spies for fifth. It was the fifth consecutive pole start for Lorenzo.