MotoGP World Championship leader Casey Stoner looked on course to for his fifth win of the season, as he moved from fourth to first in the opening laps of Sunday's German Grand Prix.

The Repsol Honda star remained in front for nine laps, but wasn't able to break Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, both of whom passed the Australian just after the midway stage.

Pedrosa then broke clear, leaving Stoner and Lorenzo fighting for second.

Stoner looked to have done enough to hold off his nearest title rival, but left a Yamaha-sized gap at the final corner of the final lap - which the reigning world champion dived into.

"We took it easy in the early part of the race and thought we'd try to preserve the tyre and warm it up slower than we did in Mugello," explained Stoner.

"After a few laps I decided to make a move to the front to see what we could do and we were able to pull a small advantage, but too small compared to the effort we were putting in so I backed off on my pace a little and tried to stay as smooth as possible and see what happens.

"They came past me and Dani was riding so strong and was able to get past Jorge before I got there, he built a small advantage and by the time I got past Jorge and I struggled to chase him down. I made a few small mistakes and that left just Jorge and I for the last few laps.

"I tried everything I could, riding the cleanest lap possible and trying to block my line, but Jorge came up on the dirty part of the track and I thought it would be too high a risk but he made it stick and I have to settle for third place.

"I'm still leading the championship and I'm thankful for the points here today".

Losing second to Lorenzo means Stoner's title lead has been cut to 15 points heading into this weekend's Laguna Seca round.

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