Aussie Casey Stoner has notched up Ducati’s maiden MotoGP victory of the season when he dominated the Aragon Grand Prix from pole to the chequered flag.
The 2007 world champion, who started from pole for the 20th time of his career, finished 5.148sec ahead of Spain’s Dani Pedrosa at the Motorland Aragon circuit in north-east Spain to regain third place in the championship.
American Nicky Hayden, also on a Ducati, made it a memorable day for the Italian bike manufacturers when he trumped Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo on the final lap to claim third, at 9.496sec, and deprive the Yamaha rider a podium finish for the first time in 14 races.
“It’s been too long between wins, that’s for sure,” said Stoner, who last won in Malaysia in October last year.
“We started out pretty well this weekend, and we got on with the track. We progressed and got better.”
Stoner admitted to having fallen in final preparations ahead of the race, taking a tumble over the white lines at turn 14.
“I was a little bit nervous this morning, but I’m really happy to bring it home,” he said. “It was unexpected for us.”
Honda’s Pedrosa paid credit to the Ducati team: “Ducati were very strong, with both riders on the podium.
“I tried everything, I didn’t start well but I recovered,” he said of his battle with Casey.
“But I was too far from Casey. We did many laps at the same pace but couldn’t get him on corners. He did good.”
Lorenzo finished fourth on Hayden’s coat-tails, but retained his lead in the overall standings.
“I didn’t mean to leave it that late,” said Hayden of his nail-biting fight with Lorenzo. “In the final laps, Jorge kept the doors shut.
“It’s been a very good weekend for us.”
With five races of the 2010 season remaining, Lorenzo has now amassed 284 points, with Pedrosa on 228 and Stoner 155.
Six-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi of Italy came in sixth, more than 27sec off the pace, and sits fourth in the standings on 140 points.