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Flawless Lorenzo romps to victory as Rossi makes triumphant return to podium

Jorge Lorenzo took a brilliant sixth victory of the season at Laguna Seca today, romping home to win by over three seconds from Casey Stoner. His team-mate Valentino Rossi made a triumphant return to the podium just seven weeks after breaking his right leg, overhauling Andrea Dovizioso during a thrilling last ten laps to finish third.

Starting from pole for the fifth time in a row, Lorenzo lost ground to his rivals at the fearsome downhill turn one and was relegated to third first time around. For the first few laps there was little he could do except hang on behind Pedrosa and Stoner but on the sixth lap Stoner ran wide and Lorenzo stormed through to take second. By now Pedrosa was nearly a second clear but Lorenzo's pace had begun to improve and he started to push as hard as he could and exert some pressure on his fellow Spaniard. On lap twelve, with the gap now narrowed to half a second, Pedrosa crashed out and left Lorenzo in the lead and from then on it was plain sailing for the 23-year-old as he expertly controlled his advantage over Stoner to bring it home and take his second win on US soil. Today's victory was his 11th in MotoGP, his 32nd in all classes and his 10th successive podium.

Rossi had suffered all weekend with pain in both his leg and his shoulder and today looked like it was going to be a tough day for the reigning champion, unable as he was to make any further headway after passing Nicky Hayden for fifth position. Once Pedrosa had crashed out however and with Ben Spies exerting pressure on him from behind Rossi's fighting instinct kicked in as he spied a podium possibility, gradually closing down a two second gap to Dovizioso to come within striking distance with six laps remaining. On the 27th lap he made his move and passed his countryman, managing to hold him off over the last couple of laps to make a popular return to the podium.

With exactly half of the season gone Lorenzo heads the championship with an impressive 72-point lead over Pedrosa, whilst Rossi is 120 points adrift of his team-mate in fifth position. Both riders will enjoy a two and a half week holiday now and the Italian will be more glad than anyone for the time off, during which he will be working on his fitness in an effort to be back to his best next time out in Brno.

"I am so happy to win 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'm sorry he crashed but from then on it was very easy for me because I had a big gap from Casey. I really enjoyed riding my M1! 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. I am really looking forward to some time to relax now after two very busy months. Thanks to everyone in my team for doing a brilliant job." - Jorge Lorenzo

"The start of the race was very hard for me because I had a lot of pain and I was far from the podium. But then I saw Pedrosa on the gravel and I just had to try to catch Dovizioso! I just pushed as hard as I could for a few laps and that brought me closer to him and then I couldn't give up, somehow I caught him and it was a great feeling to pass him to take third. It's a great result after my injury and it felt so good to be back on the podium in front of the fans. There are so many people I have to thank who have helped me to get back to this position. I am very happy that we have some time off now because I have a lot of work to do on my body to try to be back to my best for Brno, which I love." - Valentino Rossi

MotoGP Laguna Seca results: 1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 45'54.873
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team + 3.517
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team + 13.420
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team + 14.188
5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team + 14.601
6. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 19.037
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 40.721
8. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 47.219
9. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team + 52.813
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 52.814
11. Roger Lee Hayden (USA) LCR Honda MotoGP + 1'14.089
12. Alex de Angelis (ITA) Interwetten Honda MotoGP + 1'14.666

Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 4 Lap
Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 14 Lap
Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 21 Lap
Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 29 Lap
Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 30 Lap

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