Casey Stoner turned one of his toughest weekends as a factory Honda rider into race victory and the joint MotoGP Championship lead at Assen on Saturday.

The reigning champion - beaten by Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo at the three previous rounds - had again struggled with chatter in practice and suffered one of the most painful accidents of his career when he was caught out by a rain shower on Friday morning.

A surprise pole position followed, after further rain spots in qualifying, but Stoner openly admitted he had race pace concerns.

Lorenzo meanwhile had been consistently fast throughout the weekend and looked tough to beat - until he was taken out by fellow Spaniard Alvaro Bautista at turn one of the race.

Stoner and team-mate Dani Pedrosa got through the corner just before the incident, with Pedrosa leading until lap 17 of 26, when Stoner calmly moved ahead and rode to a five-second victory.

In doing so, Stoner bridged Lorenzo's 25-point lead in a single move.

"To take pole position and now the win is really incredible, a big thanks to my whole team who never gave up," said Stoner.

"My plan was to get a better start than I actually did, take some advantage and use the energy I had to try and make a gap and try to hold on to the end.

"We also knew that which ever position we were in, we had to preserve the rear tyre. Choosing the softer tyre, there was a big chance that we would destroy it and have nothing left for the end of the race.

"When I saw Dani was running at a reasonable pace and we were pulling away from the others, I decided to stay there and watch him to save the tyres and my energy as much as I could.

"With a few laps remaining, I knew we wouldn't suffer a big drop in tyre performance, I still felt good so I decided to pass him and see if I could pull a gap.

"It was a tough race, I had a lot of arm pump as I had to compensate for my injuries from the crash yesterday, but my fitness was good and the bike was working well in general.

"I'm sorry for Jorge, nobody wants to take points over a competitor in this manner, but as we can see, one race can change everything".

Stoner has now won three races this season and Lorenzo the other four. Lorenzo is the only rider in the championship top four to have suffered a DNF so far.

Round eight of 18 takes place at the Sachsenring in Germany next weekend.


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