Casey Stoner will head for the MotoGP summer break with a 50 percent Repsol Honda win rate and 20 point lead at the top of the championship standings, after a memorable victory at Laguna Seca, California, on Sunday.
The Australian, who suffered a bitter defeat at the hands of Valentino Rossi in the 2008 event, looked in danger of shedding points to title rival Jorge Lorenzo for the third race in a row after struggling with race pace during practice.
Second on the grid began Lorenzo, Stoner then lost a place to team-mate Dani Pedrosa at the start. Stoner remained third for the first half of the race, but made sure the leaders weren't able to escape and, as the fuel load dropped, was able to go on the attack.
Stoner passed Pedrosa on entry to the famous Corkscrew turn on lap 18 of 32, then chased down Lorenzo for nine laps before passing him around the outside of turn one on lap 27.
With a sore Lorenzo backing off, Stoner took his fifth win of the year by 5.634sec.
“All weekend we didn't really have the pace of Dani and Jorge and weren't comfortable running that pace, but we made some changes overnight and were a little more confident going into the race.
"Before the race I felt relaxed, confident and generally calm, we started a little slower to get the tyres warm gently and the bike didn't feel great with a full tank of fuel.
"So I was patient and took my time, staying with Jorge and Dani to control the gap and make sure they didn't get too far away. I felt I had more speed but decided to wait and watch. I saw Dani struggling a bit and he started to drop back from Jorge so I had to attack at this point.
"Once I caught up to Jorge, I watched to see if he made a mistake and kept the pressure on him, then chose my moment to make the move and was able to slowly open up a gap and bring the race home.
"It's really fantastic to come from such a difficult weekend and get a great win and I'm very thankful to all my team. It's definitely one of my best races and one to enjoy.”
Lorenzo and Pedrosa have both won two of the ten races this year, with the other victory falling to Lorenzo's Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies.