Casey Stoner rode from third to first in Sunday's US MotoGP at Laguna Seca, snatching the lead from title rival Jorge Lorenzo with six laps to go.

The victory, Stoner's fifth as a Repsol Honda rider, helped put memories of his bitter defeat at the hands of Valentino Rossi to rest and built the Australian's championship advantage back up to 20 points over Lorenzo

But Lorenzo was lucky even to be riding, after a huge highside in Saturday practice that left the Yamaha star battered and bruised - but fortunately not broken.

Pole position just hours later was another indication of Lorenzo's physical and mental strength and - despite his condition - he finished the race nearly 15 seconds ahead of the next best Yamaha, of team-mate Ben Spies.

Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa looked capable of fighting for back-to-back wins on Sunday, but a lack of strength from his healing shoulder forced the Spaniard to settle for a safe podium.

Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa all set best race laps within 0.065sec of each other.

Spies came into the race with his sights set firmly on a home rostrum, but lost out at the start and spent much of the race reeling in third-Repsol rider Andrea Dovizioso, whom Spies passed for fourth with three laps to go.

Ducati team-mates Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden rode together for much of the race and, while sixth and seventh is nothing to shout about, it has not gone unnoticed that Hayden has often been a close match for nine time champion Rossi this season.

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