JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN, APRIL 29 - Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner took control of the Spanish Grand Prix on the third of 27 laps, then held off Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo to take his first every victory under intermittently sunny skies at the Jerez Circuit in southern Spain.
Stoner was in control and holding a gap that hovered around .8 sec of a second when the lead suddenly dropped half a second from lap 17 to 18. Immediately speculation centered on Stoner's arm-pump problem, which knocked him out of the lead of the Qatar season-opener.
For the next eight laps Lorenzo was in Stoner's draft, looking for an opening and nearly finding one entering the final corner in the late stages. Then on the final lap, Stoner dropped the hammer and pulled away in every sector, turning a close race into a rout. Clearly his arm wasn't a problem as the Australian celebrated his first ever win in Jerez.
The margin of victory was .947 of a second.
The win was not only Stoner's first in Jerez, but the 41st of his Grand Prix career. It also moved him into second in the championship behind Lorenzo, 41 to 45. Pedrosa is third at 36.
Behind Lorenzo came Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa led in the early going, dropped back, then fought his way back to third. For most of the race he was hounded by Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow. Their fight mimicked the fight just ahead, with Pedrosa holding off Crutchlow by .462 of a second to take the final podium spot.
Crutchlow's teammate Andrea Dovizioso finished alone in fifth, a distant 15 seconds from Crutchlow.
San Carlo Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista was alone in sixth, well ahead of the battle for seventh. Waged between LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl and Ducati's Nicky Hayden, the fight went to Bradl on the last lap. Hayden had started well, running third in the early stages before slipping down the order. He'd passed Bradl on the penultimate lap, only to be taken on the last one.
Teammate Valentino Rossi had another downfield finish. Rossi had to fight hard to beat Pramac Racing Team Ducati's Hector Barbera for ninth.
Yamaha's Ben Spies improved one spot on his disappointing Qatar finish by finishing 11th.
NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Colin Edwards never got up to speed and finished 16th, the last rider to finish without problems. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati) crashed and remounted to finish 17th.
Jerez MotoGP Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
9. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
10. Hector Barbera (Ducati)
11. Ben Spies (Yamaha)
16. Colin Edwards (BMW-Suter)