INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AUG 29 - Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Ben Spies led the first six laps of his second home grand prix en route to a career best second in front of nearly 63,000 sun-scorched fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Starting from his first ever pole position, Spies jetted into the lead and controlled the pace until the seventh of 28 laps when Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa used the speed of his RC212V to motor past at the stripe.By then Pedrosa had run up four fastest race laps-the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh-and would add three more, eight, nine and 11. Finishing the 11th lap Pedrosa had 2.8 secs. in hand and he'd stretch it to over 5.5 secs. before slowing to finish with a 3.575 secs. margin of victory."Spies was quite, was maybe half of one second ahead, and he was pulling very, very strong," Pedrosa said. "But I could pick up, pick up and get over - ahead of him. And finally I try to do my rhythm and I was able to escape and do a good pace. So I am very happy, pleased with my bike. It was a fast bike in the straight and it was going well, also, in the corners. So good feelings."The third victory of the season was a milestone for Pedrosa: It was the first time since he joined the senior class in 2006 that he'd won more than two races in a year. And it was Spies best ever finish in a season in which he has two podiums and a pole position."Yeah. I mean, we can't complain, you know," Spies said. "We came in and did better than I thought we were going to do. We got the pole yesterday and got out and had a good start today and led some laps. Didn't set the world on fire, but we, you know, we had a good pace. I just wasn't fast enough when Dani came by. His bike was working good, and he had good grip. We had a good setup, too; it just wasn't fast enough. And I tried as hard as I could and didn't make too many mistakes. Saw that we had a gap to third and, you know, just tried to manage it and ride as hard as I could."Spies was never truly under pressure from Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo. The world championship leader didn't have the pace of the front-runners and had to settle for third, more than three seconds behind Spies. It was the first time this year that the Majorcan had finished below second place."Yeah, I must not be disappointed, no, but I'm not happy with my race," he said. "I didn't ride so well. The start didn't help me to make better. That's why I didn't feel so good with my physical condition, no? The third lap I was tired and I was not able to make the same pace as in practice. Anyway, this our worst result, and I think for Misano we will come back again, and we will see."Still, he leads Pedrosa in the world championship by 68 points, 251 to 183, after 11 of 18 races.Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi made a run at Lorenzo after passing Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) on the 20th lap. But Lorenzo was never in serious danger and Rossi came fourth, one better than Dovizioso.Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden was alone in sixth. Hayden lost his left knee slider early on and couldn't fully use his left side in the tracks 10 of 16 left hand corners."I'd been fairly quickly, Friday, Saturday morning, this," Hayden said. "Started on the front row. Dani did a 40 and I wasn't going to do 40's today in that heat. I thought I could at least put up a fight for the podium. I'm not saying I would've got on there. I think I could've ran in that group, but it was just a long miserable, boring race. They took off and I was just trying to just keep my gap on Simoncelli."Still, Hayden had a better race than his teammate Casey Stoner, who crashed out of sixth on the eighth lap.San Carlo Gresini Honda's Marco Simoncelli closed to within a little over a second on Hayden, but finished seventh. His bigger worry came from behind. Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista made a run that came up short by .085 secs.Pramac Racing Ducati's Aleix Espargaro was alone in ninth, as was fellow Spaniard Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Ducati) in tenth, and Rizla Suzuki's 11th place finisher Loris Capirossi.The final two finishers were recovering Honda riders. In his first race since breaking his back warming up for the June 20 British GP, Hiroshi Aoyama finished 12th."Under the given conditions here at Indy it was quite hard to finish the 28 laps," Aoyama said. "I had to fight in every single lap. I could stay with the other riders, but didn't want to risk anything."De Puniet said Indy was more difficult than Brno, where he'd raced only four weeks after breaking his leg. The stress of that race caused his leg to swell up and kept him off his feet for three days afterwards."Honestly this was the most tough race for me since the beginning of the year, even more demanding than Brno!" he said. "We tried to get the most from our bike and I even tried to change my riding style, but at the end I could not find my pace."The non-finishers, other than Stoner, were Marco Melandri, Colin Edwards, and Mika Kallio. Each had a story. Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) started the race as the youngest rider ever to reach 200 GP's, but it wasn't to be a happy day. Melandri was pushing hard when he lost the front end on the third lap while in a strong seventh position.Edwards chose the harder Bridgestone rear option, but found he had no edge group. With higher temperatures on Sunday, Edwards was hopeful that the extra-hard rear would be better at the end of the race. He never got that far. Instead he pitted to change to the hard rear on the twelfth lap. But after five more laps he retired."I was riding on the limit but way off the pace so I pulled in for the softer tire and did a few laps and my lap times were immediately better," he said.

Kallio (Pramac Racing Ducati) crashed on the 19th lap while chasing Simoncelli and Bautista.

MotoGP:

1.Dani Pedrosa (Honda)

2. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)

4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)

5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)

6. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)

7. Marco Simoncelli (Honda)

8. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki)

9. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati)

10. Hector Barbera (Ducati)

MotoGP Headlines

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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