After running wide into turn one on lap six of Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix, Ducati's Casey Stoner spent most of the race trying to overtake Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

Pedrosa had also run wide at turn one, at the very start of the race, and the battle between the rumoured 2011 team-mates was initially for third position, which then became a fight for second when Andrea Dovizioso fell.

But Stoner simply couldn't find a way past, crossing the line 0.2sec behind Pedrosa to nonetheless claim his second podium in a row. Race winner Jorge Lorenzo was five seconds in front.

"The mistake was my own fault. I got a bit too much speed down the main straight - I got a slipstream off both Jorge and Dovi - so I decided to just go wide rather than risk losing the front and going into everyone," said Stoner, who had spent the opening laps battling for the lead.

"The bike didn't feel too good. We changed the set-up after warm-up and it was difficult to ride at the start, but better at the end. I got past de Puniet and then as I came up behind Dani I thought I could run better lap times than him. I thought I'd try to pass him, but that was just an impossible battle.

"Dani rode really well today, he didn't make any mistakes. He was coming out of the corners good, clean. Didn't give me an opportunity to get past. I was on his rear wheel for most of the race, but just wasn't able to get the job done. So hats off to Dani.

"But we've got to be happy with another podium today."

Having put his nightmare start to the season behind him, Stoner has now moved up to sixth in the championship, just two points behind fourth placed team-mate Nicky Hayden.

"I am happy to see that Casey is back to being... well, Casey!" said team manager Vittoriano Guareschi. "Even after running off track he recovered with a lot of determination and tried his best to the end but he could do no more than he did."

Hayden meanwhile had a 'tough' ride to eighth.

"What a tough race!" said Nicky. "We thought we had found something in the warm-up this morning using a worn tyre but in the race with the extra grip from a new tyre the balance just wasn't the same.

"I was really struggling over the first few laps and held myself up on my elbow a couple of times. The situation improved in the second half of the race, I was able to push a little harder to the point where I thought I could make up some positions.

"I lost too much time behind Melandri though and we finished eighth. It's not a great result but at least we have brought some points home and we're now fourth in the championship. If we want to stay there we have to do much better and get back to the level we were at a couple of races ago."