Pedrosa ends Honda win drought at Laguna Seca2009-07-06 01:51
After more than a year without a victory for Honda, since his own win at Catalunya last season, Dani Pedrosa triumphed in the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on Sunday, taking the holeshot from fourth on the grid and not looking back - to cross the finishing line ahead of his closest rival Valentino Rossi.
Following a string of crashes and injury problems, Pedrosa was finally back to his very best, lapping at a pace which none of his opponents could match. At one stage he had built up a significant gap at the front and although series leader Valentino Rossi chased him down on the final lap there were no mishaps this time.
Pedrosa still has some way to go if he is to challenge at the head of the standings however, as current leader Rossi picked up further points in second place, whilst fellow contenders Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner were third and fourth, respectively.
Riding with an injured shoulder and foot, Lorenzo had a chance to overtake Rossi for second with four laps to go but got his move wrong and had to settle for the final podium place. Stoner ran with the frontrunners for most of the race but tired in the final stages, although he stayed within touching distance of Fiat Yamaha pair Rossi and Lorenzo at the top of the standings courtesy of his fourth place.
A good ride from home favourite Nicky Hayden at his favourite track saw him register his first top five result since joining Ducati, the American rider finishing just ahead of a similarly revitalised Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini).
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki), Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing) completed the top ten.
There was disappointment for Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) who lost ground in the championship when he crashed out for the second race in succession on lap seven.
Only twelve riders completed the race, as the likes of Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Racing), Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki), Sete Gibernau (Grupo Francisco Hernando) and James Toseland (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) went home with DNFs to their names. Toseland was black flagged for failing to come in for a ride-through penalty after jump starting.
The MotoGP riders return to action at Sachsenring after a weekend's break, with the 250cc and 125cc fields joining them at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland on 17th-19th July.
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