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Stoner dominates at Catalunya, closes in on points lead

Australian ace Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) rocketed to a dominant victory at Catalunya. His third win of the year and his second consecutive success moves him to within seven points of series leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who finished in second place. Lorenzo’s team-mate Ben Spies completed the podium just ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V). Pole position man Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) came home in sixth spot.

Stoner was the clear favourite after setting a lightning-fast race pace throughout the two days of practice. Even though he missed out on pole position – because he didn’t have the set-up to fully exploit the extra grip of the softer tyres – the 2007 World Champion was confident he could be more than competitive today.

Second behind Lorenzo at the end of the first lap, Stoner took the lead at the start of lap two and stayed in front for the rest of the 25-lap race. He steadily built an advantage until the midway point when he sensibly eased his pace as light rainfall affected the final section of the Catalunya track. Lorenzo – who was able to gauge his pace in the treacherous conditions according to Stoner – closed the gap from more than two seconds to 1.8 seconds, but as soon as the rain stopped Stoner re-established his advantage. At one point he was almost four seconds ahead of Lorenzo. Finally he crossed the finish line 2.4s ahead.

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: winner
“We got a reasonably good start, but not as good as Jorge. I wanted to try to pass him early on, but had to wait until the end of the first lap. From this point I just tried to put in the consistent laps as we did in the practice sessions to see if he could stay with me. Fortunately I was able to open up an advantage without pushing too hard or feeling too much pressure. I was really happy, the bike was feeling fantastic and then it started to rain. There was enough rain there to make you think that it will affect the bike, and in the last corner there was enough rain to make the track slippery. As I was always the first to arrive to the wet area of the track, I watched what the others were doing [from the information displayed on his pit board] and if they had started to catch me then I would push and if I start to pull an advantage then I would back off a little. I’m just happy I kept the bike upright at this stage and I want to thank all my team at Repsol Honda for all the hard work this weekend. We now head to Silverstone next week where we’ll also be looking to fight for victory. I just hope Dani can make a return there also and I wish him a fast recovery.”

Jorge Lorenzo - Position 2nd
“I’m really happy with the result, I gave it the maximum! I overtook Casey on the start but I knew he could overtake me. I tried to stay with him and not to lose his back wheel for as long as possible. At the end it started to rain a little and it was tough to keep concentration in the last sector but we managed it. We are still leading the championship so let’s see what happens in Silverstone.”

Ben Spies - Position 3rd
“We just kept pushing and pushing and we were slowly catching up to Jorge, not necessarily to try and catch and pass him but to stay away from Andrea. The bike was great and I felt good on it and just needed a good result. After the first couple of laps I realised we had a shot at a podium so I rode as hard as I could. The tyre was a good choice for us today; we did what we came here to accomplish and that’s good enough. Big thanks to the team who worked hard to deliver a great package this weekend, bring on Silverstone!”

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