Jorge Lorenzo left Laguna Seca having extended his MotoGP title lead despite losing out on victory to a charging Casey Stoner.
Starting from pole, Lorenzo held off the Hondas of Stoner and team-mate Dani Pedrosa into turn one and - with Stoner choosing the softer rear tyre - was expected to gain ground on the Australian during the second half of the race.
But Stoner showed no sign of fading and, after a moment for Lorenzo at the Corkscrew, began attacking Lorenzo during the second half of the grand prix, finally making his victory pass along the start-finish straight with ten laps to go.
“I tried my best the beginning to open a gap and I managed it but then in the corkscrew I almost crashed. For Casey maybe that was a motivation and he caught me in one lap,” reflected Lorenzo.
“After that I couldn't keep the pace I had in the beginning, maybe the soft tyre was the best option for this race.
In theory the hard tyre is coming better in the middle of the race, but this time it was the opposite. It seems that the soft one was better and more constant.
“Anyway today Casey was the best. The fastest. It was not my day.”
Although Lorenzo was clearly disappointed, he and Yamaha could take some comfort from adding a further four points to his championship lead over nearest title rival Pedrosa.
“It's very important for the Championship to stay on the podium so today was a success and we have extended our lead over Dani a little,” said team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. “We'll take a break now and then be ready for Indianapolis!”
Stoner is 32 points from Lorenzo after ten of 18 rounds.