After great battle at Catalunya
Casey Stoner took his fourth victory of the 2007 season this afternoon at the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya after an immense battle with Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, in front of a crowd of more than 110,000 spectators at Barcelona - with
local hero Dani Pedrosa finishing a close third.
The young Ducati Marlboro rider produced one of the best performances of his career on a hot Spanish afternoon, closely contesting the race lead with five-time former premier class World Champion Rossi in an enthralling duel – the Australian eventually crossing the line just 0.069s ahead of the Italian.
MotoGP's current pole jinx sequence extended to nine races as Rossi was unable to take advantage of starting at the front of the grid, having seen Catalan Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa delight the crowd at the first corner to take the hole shot.
Pedrosa may not have won a Grand Prix for nearly a year but he is finding form at present and was ready to pounce in the event of any errors from the leading pair – ultimately finishing just 0.390s behind Stoner, who increased his World Championship lead to 14 points.
There was another decent points haul for Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins who repeated his fourth place from Catalunya last year, while a brave ride from Kawasaki's injured Randy de Puniet saw him secure his best ever MotoGP result in fifth as the top five comprised riders representing five different constructors.
There was disappointment for the Catalan supporters who had hoped to see home rider Toni Elias challenging for the podium as the 24 year-old Honda Gresini man retired due to engine failure when in sixth place with ten laps to go.
An excellent ride from Stoner's Ducati colleague Loris Capirossi saw him exorcise the demons after his 2006 crash at this venue, as the Italian came from 17th on the grid to finish in sixth place.
Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen, Pramac d'Antin's Alex Barros, Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri and Fiat Yamaha's Colin Edwards completed the top ten - whilst World Champion Nicky Hayden will be frustrated to have crossed the line 11th after qualifying seventh.
DORNA / CAPSIS International