California Blazing: Casey Stoner Claims MotoGP US Grand Prix Victory at Laguna Seca
Casey Stoner has fond recent memories of Laguna Seca Raceway. And he just added another to the pot.
At the site where he was crowned the 2011 MotoGP World Champion, Oakley’s Australian Star claimed his fourth victory on the season and his second consecutive – topping Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa for glory in the Golden State.
The two-time champ finished 32 laps in 43 minutes, 45.961 seconds from Pole – passing Lorenzo on the inside at Turn 1 on Lap 21.
He was also the only elite rider in the race to choose softer tires – resulting in a careful effort to conserve them throughout the race.
“With the soft tires, we knew that we would have to be a little bit gentle on it,” he said, rocking his Oakley Signature Series Scalpel Eyewear. “If we pushed on it very hard the whole way through the race then it wouldn’t last.”
“My plan was to try to get a good start and get a good grip at the beginning, try to pull a gap and let everybody else burn their tires out. My plan didn’t work. I was fourth going into Turn 1 and had to pick my way through.”
And through to the front he went – outclassing most of the field and lapping some of the back markers with nine laps left in the event.
With another big victory at Laguna Seca, the question of whether or not he’d miss the track following his coming retirement after the season, was unavoidable.
“I do enjoy this track, for sure, but I think it’s a little too small for these bikes. You’re more or less at 50 or 80 percent throttle most of the time. You rarely get to 100.”
With that, the two-time champ and three-time Laguna Seca winner officially catapulted himself into title contention once again.