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Casey Stoner wins Aragon, Hayden third
19 September 2010
Casey Stoner has taken his first MotoGP win since the penultimate round of last year after beating home hero Dani Pedrosa during Sunday's inaugural Aragon Grand Prix - while team-mate Nicky Hayden made it two Desmosedicis on the podium.
Starting from his first pole position since round one, Stoner brought his and Ducati's 13-race losing streak to an end by firmly repelling an attack from world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo through the opening few turns - then setting some blisteringly fast early laps.
Pedrosa, winner of the previous two races, had dropped from third to fifth on the opening lap - but breezed past Ben Spies for fourth towards the end lap one, then did the exact same move to Hayden (for third) and Lorenzo (for second) on successive passes along the 200mph straight.
Stoner was now 1.5sec ahead of the Repsol Honda rider, but Pedrosa wasn't able to get within striking - or slipstreaming distance - of the 2007 world champion, who will be his factory Honda team-mate in 2011.
The closest Pedrosa got was just under one second around the halfway stage of the 23 laps, but Stoner responded and had pulled 5.148sec clear by the time his 21st MotoGP victory was confirmed at the chequered flag.
Once overtaken by Pedrosa on lap 3, Lorenzo - who complained of a lack of straight-line performance after qualifying - spent most of the race fending off Hayden.
Lorenzo was fighting to keep his perfect 2010 podium record intact, while Hayden was chasing his first podium of the season.
And it was Hayden who prevailed, springing a clever block pass on Lorenzo - into the slow left hander that leads onto the back straight - on the very last lap.
It was Hayden's first podium since Indianapolis 2009 and second ever on a Ducati.
Lorenzo, riding with a Shoya Tomizawa replica helmet, began round 13 with a 63 point lead over Pedrosa. The Fiat Yamaha rider is now 56 points in front as MotoGP heads for Motegi, Japan, in two weeks' time.
The close Lorenzo/Hayden battle was mirrored between Ben Spies and Andrea Dovizioso for fifth. Dovi looked to have finally grabbed the position from Spies into the last turn on the penultimate lap, but Spies out-braked the Italian into turn one.
Dovizioso's day then got a lot worse when he crashed out later on the final lap, joining only LCR's Randy de Puniet as failing to finish.
Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi, who qualified an equal-2010 worst of seventh, went wide at turn one and dropped as low as ninth later in the race. The Fiat Yamaha rider recovered to sixth, helped by Dovi's late exit, but was an enormous 27sec behind Stoner.
Rossi's friend Marco Simoncelli finished one-second behind him in seventh for San Carlo Honda Gresini, with fellow rookie Alvaro Bautista was eighth on the lone Suzuki GSV-R.
Simoncelli's team-mate Marco Melandri and Pramac Ducati's Aleix Espargaro completed the top ten.
Spies' Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards had a nightmare race, finishing lap one in 14th and only reaching twelfth at the flag.
Aragon was called up to replace the unfinished Balatonring circuit in Hungary. It is supposed to revert to reserve status after this year's event, but few will be surprised if Aragon remains on the MotoGP calendar for 2011 and beyond.
Aragon was the third of four MotoGP rounds in Spain this year. The final Spanish visit will be for the Valencia season finale.
Aragon Grand Prix:
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