Stoner takes it all at Laguna Seca

Casey Stoner and Marlboro Ducati had no rivals this weekend and were able to take their sixth season victory on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, held in California, where the the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) held the U.S.

Casey Stoner and Marlboro Ducati had no rivals this weekend and were able to take their sixth season victory on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, held in California, where the the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) held the U.S. Grand Prix.

The podium places were completed by Chris Vermeulen, giving a fantastic result to Suzuki and the one-two positions for Australia. Taking third was Marco Melandri, as the best among the Honda riders.

"This would have to be my best racing weekend ever. We also had a great weekend at the Sachsenring last week, it just didn't work out in the race. Today everything was perfect, the tyres, the bike, everything was working great the whole weekend", Stoner said.

And the winner's words about this being his best racing weekend ever weren't for nothing. Every time the 800cc. bikes of MotoGP were on track, the Australian was the great dominator of the action, loosing the lead in the race just for some moments at the start, in the hands of Dani Pedrosa.

"At the start of the race I dipped into the 22s, I wanted to see how fast everybody else could go. I was pulling away from Dani [Pedrosa] by about half second lap, then Chris [Vermeulen] got in front of him and started to chase me down. I thought he was obviously pushing a bit harder so I decided to up my pace and I was slowly but surely pulling a gap. Chris was very fast, but I feel like I had a little bit better rear tyre, we had selected a pretty hard rear which really started working towards the end, so I just continued to push throughout the race. I didn't think there was going to be a big group at the front, I knew we had the set-up and it was just a matter of everything going to plan for us with no bad luck and everything worked", commented Stoner.

Starting from third on the grid, Vermeulen settled into that position for the first three laps and then passed Pedrosa`s Honda and set about chasing race leader Stoner. Both Australians quickly pulled away from the rest of the field and as hard as Vermeulen tried he couldn't quite catch the current standings leader.

"I am absolutely over the moon to be on the podium here at Laguna! Last year we had a lot of pace as well, but it didn't quite work out in the race. Suzuki has overcome that and we have had a trouble free weekend. The Bridgestone tyres worked great and only myself and Casey had the pace to do the lap-times at the beginning. Unfortunately I couldn't quite hang with him all race but I am very happy to be second and now let's go forward and get a few more of these", commented Vermeulen, who signed with Suzuki to continue next year.

Melandri produced one of the best performances of the season today for Gresini Honda as he charged to the podium at Laguna Seca despite suffering from the effects of a badly swollen ankle after yesterday`s accident.

"It was an amazing race for me - it's unbelievable to be on the podium. I couldn't actually ride this morning without an injection for the pain and I just have to say a very big thanks to all the Clinica Mobile - Doctor Costa, the therapist Francesco Chionne and Doctor Monica. They gave me very good treatment before the race so there was no pain when I was riding", Melandri said.

"At the beginning I just tried to keep my rhythm and it was pretty good for me. I wasn't so comfortable on the bike at the beginning but in the end my rhythm was okay. Just the last five or six laps I started to feel a bit of pain in my ankle so I couldn't downshift so good but it's been a great race and a very good emotion for me to be on the podium. I just want to thank all my team, all my guys and all my sponsors - they are working so good", concluded the Italian.

Valentino Rossi ended up in fourth place at the wheel of his Yamaha M1 and wasn`t able to reach the podium, despite his attempts to get Melandri`s position in the last part of the race.

Current world champion, Nicky Hayden, got off to a good start from fourth, but just a few corners later the Kentucky Kid and another home favourite John Hopkins collided both taking a wide line. The American pair subsequently fell down the order, with Hopkins worse off and having to pit to have his bike checked.

"It is a pity to get this result in my home country; for me, for the team and for the fans. This is turning out to be a really tough season and this typical of how things are working out: another incident this time on curve 1", Hayden explained. Hayden would finally retire ten laps from the end after never being able to recover from the incident with Hopkins.

Stoner now leads the championship with 221 points, 44 more than Rossi Third place belongs to Pedrosa, with 155 units.

Once the race was over, The Ducati Team announced that Stoner and Melandri will be their riders for the next two seasons of the MotoGP World Championship. More information about the announcement will be made tomorrow.

Next round for the Continental Circus is expected for August 19th at Brno, in Czech Republic.

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