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Dani Pedrosa has confirmed victory in his battle against injuries by claiming the race win in Sunday's American Grand Prix. The Repsol Honda rider, who has suffered from a series of accidents this year, took the chequered flag at Laguna Seca by fending off Valentino Rossi until the final corner in a close finish.
With all all-Yamaha front row threatening the field, a lightning start by Pedrosa saw the Honda zoom from fourth on the grid to split the duo of Lorenzo and Rossi as well as Casey Stoner's Ducati. With the three championship contenders left to trail in the smoke of the Honda's exhaust pipe, Pedrosa completed a superb lights-to-flag win before backing off the pace in the closing laps.
As Rossi got the jump on his team-mate, injured Lorenzo - who had doubted even being in the race on Sunday morning - completed the podium after suffering from two accidents on Saturday; Stoner had also fallen in a large way during qualifying but remained in touch with the Japanese bikes despite still being unwell. The second Ducati of Nicky Hayden finally made an entry to the top five from a season's best qualifying position of eighth.
Pedrosa's dominant win in America was the Spaniard's first since the Catalonia race of last year, although compatriot Lorenzo had a more difficult afternoon after sliding to eighth on the first lap. Stoner overhauled Rossi, meanwhile, for second place. Lorenzo had already returned to the top five by the end of Lap 1 before fourth-placed Andrea Dovizioso crashed for the second consecutive race. After both Yamahas passed Stoner and with only a handful of laps to go, Jorge attacked his team-mate at the final turn although Rossi pulled away when the former challenged and ran wide after a well controlled save.
With Hayden defending fifth from Toni Elias, whose Gresini bike has found the speed he had hoped for, Stoner was slipping down the timesheets and had eventually lost over ten seconds to the leaders. Britain's James Toseland had a disappointing day which ended with disqualification; after jumping the start, the Tech3 bike wall called in for a ride-through penalty although - having failed to come in - was shown the black flag before ironically carrying out the punishment before retiring for good into the garage.
With Pedrosa claiming a long-awaited triumph in style, reigning Champion Rossi stretches his championship lead over Lorenzo to nine points heading to Germany with Stoner a further seven behind and sixteen in the wake of the leader.
Repsol Honda Team
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|Repsol Honda Team|
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|2009 American MotoGP Grand Prix|
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|6 Jul '09||Honda delighted with race win|
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|18 Apr||Video: Pedrosa on-board lap at Austin|
|19 May||Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Le Mans|
|19 May||Lorenzo fastest in Le Mans warm-up practice|
|18 May||Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Le Mans|
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|More Dani Pedrosa photos|